Charlotte Douglas International Airport prepares for busy travel week

Thanksgiving travel this year is expected to be worse than ever

Travel tips help make a safe holiday season

"Thanksgiving kicks off the start of a busy holiday season, and more thankful Americans will travel to spend time with friends and family this year", said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president of travel and publishing, in a press release. That's despite a higher national average for gas prices over previous year; this November's national average is $2.54, about 37 cents more than last November.

The airport predicts the busiest travel days of the week will be Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after the holiday.

› Apps like those from AAA and GasBuddy can help you avoid traffic snarls and find the cheapest gasoline.

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In the breakdown of modes of transportation travelers will utilize this holiday, according to Bloomberg News, about 45.5 million will travel by automobile, up 3.2 percent.

› Chris McGinnis, founder of the TravelSkills blog, suggests booking hotels around office parks, which tend to be very quiet and offer great rates because there are few business travelers during the holidays.

To accommodate the annual onslaught of travelers, the airport is offering free parking for the first hour in its hourly garage until January 15, airport spokesman Jonathan Dean said.

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It is the sixth consecutive year air travel has grown during the holiday, and now accounts now for 7.8 percent of all travel, its highest share since 2010, AAA said. AAA said that most Maryland travelers are expected to drive to their destinations.

But Milani said higher gas prices aren't keeping travelers off the road.

Vehicle rental rates are also higher than past year, and so are many hotel rooms, according to AAA.

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Thanksgiving travel will be the highest since 2005 which is being boosted by a stronger United States economy- and despite higher gas prices at the pumps.

You may want to look at flying this year, as analysts said round-trip tickets for the top 40 domestic routes are the lowest they've been in five years.

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