Holiday Travel: Lower Gas Prices and Higher Risk on the Road

If you’re flying out of Charlotte Douglas Airport for the holidays and plan to leave your car there, you should check the real-time parking map on the airport’s website. On Tuesday evening before Christmas, three of the four long-term parking lots were full.

If you’re driving, you’ll find gas is cheap - less than two bucks - pretty much anywhere you go.

“We’re in a fuel free fall. Enjoy it while it lasts. It’s not going to last forever. We’ll likely see prices go up as we near the end of winter,” said Tiffany Wright with AAA of the Carolinas.

Dezere Singleton says she doesn’t get to see family much. Paying less at the pump makes it easier to visit loved ones this Christmas.

“Price is really good. Usually I take the bus or train. Now that gas prices are low, I’m just happy to go home,” said Singleton. 

She’ll be one of 41 thousand extra travelers hitting the roads this year in North Carolina compared to last year which comes with a warning.

“This being the longest holiday period of the year, it’s also the deadliest. We had 49 people die on North Carolina roads last year. That’s 49 too many,” said Wright.

The number of air travelers is also up although not by much. Less than one percent according to AAA. Depending on when you head to the airport, you might have a hard time getting into the 5 dollar a day long-term lots.

“Tomorrow (Wednesday) will actually be the heaviest pre-Christmas travel day, so they will continue to fill. We’ll still have availability in the other parking products,” said Herbert Judon, assistant aviation director. 

The good news is ticket prices are slightly down from last Christmas. By about 6 percent, says AAA.

“I was surprised. We got a good price for four tickets. We bought them about two months ago and they were surprisingly good,” said Pamela Franco, flying into Charlotte for Christmas.

About 25 thousand people will be coming through the airport Wednesday, so be sure to plan ahead.
If you’re staying on the roads, officials remind folks they’re cracking down on drunk driving through their ‘booze it and lose it’ campaign which goes until January 3rd. 

AAA of the Carolinas tells us it rescued more than 14 thousand drivers last month during the Thanksgiving holiday. That number is expected to double during the 12 days of Christmas.