By Stefanie Bainum
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) – If you pack one thing for your Thanksgiving travels, make sure it's your patience.
According to AAA Carolinas, South Carolina is expected to see a 1 percent increase in travel this holiday season, compared to last year. That means about 5,400 more people will be on the roads.
"We are expecting a 1 percent increase in this year over last year in just Thanksgiving travelers on the road, so it's grounded already adding another 1 percent. It is going to be crowded," AAA General Manager Lori Jo Simmons said.
And having some of the cheapest gas prices in the nation could have something to do with the crowds as well.
"We are up one cent over last year, but we are down from what we've been experiencing all summer long, so it is prompting some last minute travel and relieving a lot of other people because of the expense," Simmons said.
The Thanksgiving holiday is typically one of the busiest travel days of the year.
"Thanksgiving has traditionally been a very popular family holiday because it's always been on a Thursday," Simmons said. "Kids are out of school on Wednesday so Wednesday starts the traffic season and then that runs through until Saturday or Sunday when they return home."
Experts say if you plan on taking to the skies instead of the roadways be prepared to not be alone.
"We've staffed for it as has the airlines because this is the busiest holiday for travel throughout the year, so everyone is fully staffed; we are ready for it," said Debra Engel, Federal Security Director at Charleston International Airport.
"But still you should give yourself ample time in coming to the checkpoints because, even with all of our lanes open, we fully expect that there will be wait times."
Airport officials advise travelers to arrive at the airport 2 hours before takeoff if they are checking a bag, and to arrive 1 ½ hours before flying if you have no bag. New this Thanksgiving, children under the age of 12 and adults over the age of 75 will not have to take off their shoes during security. A time-saving change for travelers from last Thanksgiving.