Brisk Labor Day weekend could signal busy fall travel season

In this Monday, March 25, 2019, file photo, cars and trucks travel on Interstate 5 near Olympia, Wash.  (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

TEXAS — Labor Day travel is expected to be significantly up in Texas and across the country this year, and according to AAA, most people are opting to drive to their destinations.

A recent AAA Texas survey reveals 32% of Americans plan to travel over the holiday weekend, and of them, 82% will travel by automobile. It’s a trend AAA anticipates will continue through the fall.

Some of the top out-of-state destinations for Texans include Las Vegas, Dublin, Maui, Rome, New York and Denver. Those staying in Texas are choosing South Padre Island, Port Aransas, Austin and Fredericksburg.

“As fall approaches and more international destinations open with fewer COVID-19 testing requirements, AAA Texas travel advisors are seeing growing demand at our local branches for trips and tours. And this is happening at a rate that outpaces even 2019 levels,” said Galen Grillo, vice president and general manager of AAA Texas.

With automobile travel comes good and bad news. The good news is gas prices are down significantly. As of Thursday, the statewide gas price average in Texas was $3.34 per gallon. That’s down 7 cents from a week ago but 54 cents higher than on the same day a year ago.

The bad news is AAA expects to rescue more than 17,000 Texas drivers over the holiday weekend. To avoid a breakdown, AAA recommends inspecting tires, batteries, belts, hoses and fluid levels, or have vehicles inspected by a trusted mechanic.

Just because most people are choosing to drive doesn’t mean Texas airports won’t be busy.

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport saw brisk foot traffic Friday morning, but it was not reminiscent of the long backups at security the airport experienced earlier this year.

The airport urges travelers who don’t have TSA PreCheck or Clear to arrive two and a half hours before departure for a domestic flight and three hours before an international trip.

You should budget additional time if you need to check luggage, return a rental car or have other tasks to complete before going through security.

The airport’s complete list of tips is available here.

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