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Memorial Day travel returns to pre-pandemic bustle

Over five million drivers are expected to hit California roadways for Memorial Day weekend, according to AAA.

CALIFORNIA, USA — From the roads to the skies, it's a holiday mass exodus as families travel to observe Memorial Day. 

The Transportation Security Administration Administration says they screened about 2.6 million passengers on Thursday alone — the most since before the pandemic.

Meanwhile, AAA says more than 37 million people are driving to their destination this weekend, a 6% increase from 2022.

For California, the most popular destinations are Disneyland, San Francisco and Lake Tahoe.

The busiest time to travel this weekend is Friday between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.

AAA estimates close to 90% of travel will be by car this weekend. John Treanor with AAA says an estimated five million people are expected to hit the road over the next few days in California.

The cost of gas doesn’t seem to be deterring people.

“We have seen, since last week, gas prices jump about three cents but compared to last year where it was $6.07 we aren’t close to that we are at $4.82 right now,” said Treanor.

Experts recommend filling up sooner rather than later and making sure your car doesn’t need any repairs.

“In summer we see calls increase by 25%, majority of which are car breakdowns which is why we encourage people to get their car inspected,” said Treanor.

Jazzie Garcia is choosing to drive to her destination rather than fly.

“I want to avoid the excessive amount of people. I want to avoid the cost. It’s pretty expensive, even for local it’s a little more expensive so I’d rather drive, take my time and avoid congestion at the airport,” said Garcia.

Over at the Sacramento International Airport, airlines are welcoming pre-pandemic numbers even though customers say they are having to shell out a bit more. They anticipate 100,000 people will go through the airport each day through Tuesday.

“This Memorial Day was pretty pricey just because it’s the holiday and everyone is trying to get their tickets and everyone is visiting family and spending money to see loved ones,” said Quadri Yusufu who flew into Sacramento from Atlanta. 

For those returning from the weekend, Monday and Tuesday mid-day are expected to be the busiest times on the roadways.

WATCH MORE: Northern California Weather: Memorial Day Weekend forecast shows cooler temperatures

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