COLUMBIA, S.C. — Thanksgiving is this week which means holiday travel is officially on.
AAA expects nearly 55 million people will travel for the holiday, that's the third-highest number ever recorded.
In South Carolina, they anticipate travel to exceed pre-pandemic levels with 850,000 of those traveling, 90% of which by vehicle.
"There's gonna be a lot of people on the roads, a lot of congestion out there, we say always pack your patience, as people are just really excited to travel and for a lot of people, this is the first big trip in two years," says Tiffany Wright the AAA Director of Public Information.
She says high gas prices and inflation will not stop drivers from hitting the roads.
"Gas prices are annoying but I live far away from my family," says local Tucker Sigourney.
While others aren't driving they have family commuting to them.
"Well I'm not traveling this Thanksgiving but I have my daughter from Texas is home, I mean my granddaughter from Texas and grandson from Washington D.C.," says Willie Moye.
Those anticipating family or are planning to drive… are recommended to avoid travel until Thanksgiving or to commute after rush hour.
"Typically the Monday through Wednesday before the holidays are going to be your busiest travel days, avoiding those rush hour times is going to be ideal so if your travel plans allow you to leave let's say early in the morning or after 8 pm that's probably when you can see the least amount of volume," adds Wright.
As high volume appears for travel this year it leaves the South Carolina Highway Patrol on high alert for areas people should prepare for congestion at.
"In Richland and Lexington county, we will focus on I-20, I-26, and I-77, a lot of individuals use those interstates while they're traveling, and of course the main major highways such as US-1, US-178, and US-321 in those area's, and in area's such as Orangeburg and Calhoun county we always have an influx of traffic on I-26 somewhere between the 125-mile markers and all the way down to the 169-mile marker," says Lance Corporal Tyler Tidwell with South Carolina Highway Patrol.
Several of the interstates Tidwell mentions are under construction, so we reached out to SCDOT to see how their projects will go during the holiday season they said, they will prohibit lane closures starting at Noon on Wednesday, November 23rd and it will continue until 6 am on Monday, November 28th, they also add they expect no trouble spots due to construction.