South Georgians hit the road and the air - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South Georgians hit the road and the air

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By Len Kiese - bio | email

December 24, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - For the first time since 2002, Triple-A predicts a decline in Christmas travel. As with many other things these days, the economy is partly to blame.

Fewer people are expected to drive or fly this Christmas but we found some South Georgians who aren't letting the economy stop them from heading home for the holidays.

It was a day of Christmas Eve travel at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport as people made their way through the security line and off to their destinations. "I'm heading to Houston, Texas," said flyer Sean Hatcher.

With this economy, Hatcher says it was tough deciding whether to fly or drive to Houston for the holidays. "Oh yeah. It was a tough decision but I'd rather fly than drive twelve hours," said Hatcher.

Any mode of travel is expected to be down this year. Triple A predicts about 64 million Americans will travel for Christmas, a decline of 1.4 million people. 13 percent of travelers will go by plane but those numbers are down due partly to higher priced fares.

"You can't put a price on seeing family," said Hatcher.

Traffic was busy in Albany on Christmas Eve. People headed out of town will make up the more than 52-million Americans hitting the road. Robert Edwards will join them.

"We're flying from Atlanta to Flint," said Edwards.

He's gassing up to take the road trip to Atlanta to fly to Michigan. He and other drivers are benefiting from lower gas prices that are about $1.30 per gallon less than last year. "Oh this is great. This will put you on the fast track," said Edwards.

That could cause more people to travel by road although Triple-A also predicts a decline there.

Despite the mode of travel, South Georgians say they're just going to fork over the money this year. They say family is enough to make them sacrifice and head home for the holidays.  

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