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'It's worth it': Californian's ready to spend more, wait longer in busiest traveling season of year

Government data shows round-trip airfares are also up 43% from this time last year and even that isn’t scaring travelers away.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Thanksgiving is less than a week away and travelers are already heading to their destinations ahead of one of the busiest travel weeks in the year.

The Sacramento International Airport is seeing an increase in travelers close to pre-pandemic numbers. Travelers at the airport are eager to spend the holidays with family and friends.

"I'm going to Vegas for my cousin's 21st birthday and we're going to hang out there for a couple days over our Thanksgiving break,” said Vanessa Richie. “We're both in college right now so it's going to be a good time.”

Airport officials say they're already seeing more people flying this year than last. They're expecting it to pick up even more going into the weekend with an expected peak Wednesday.

Folks traveling this weekend are giving out advice to those trying to fly out from the airport.

"Get here early,” said James Flemings and daughter Janii, laughing. “Don't take any chances. You wanna get here, that way you don't miss your flight."

For those planning to travel by car, AAA projects another 6.3 million Californian's driving to their holiday destinations.

"Since I got three days off, I said why not, I'm going to see my sister,” said Guillermina B Granados, traveling from Stockton. “I didn't want to drive because it's a long drive, but on the plane it’s an hour and half and you're there."

Richie suggests those choosing to drive should plan out stops along the way.

"I'm a girl who's driving alone and stuff. I've driven up and back a couple times so I know a couple places I can stop and feel comfortable like getting out,” said Richie.

She says she spent six hours sitting in traffic just to get to the airport. Some travelers say the stress and time is worth it. 

“Oh gosh, it's worth the money. It's worth it just to be together and make memories and just be together," said Sherri Bewsey.

Government data shows round-trip airfares are also up 43% from this time last year and even that isn’t scaring travelers away.

"If you're young and you can do it, enjoy your life right now,” said Granados. “Don't wait until my age. Just go for it."

Airport officials say travelers should leave early and get a ride to the airport because parking lots are quickly filling up.

Travelers are asked to be patient and check the airport's website for parking availability if they can't find a ride.

Watch more from ABC10: Meet the people making a difference volunteering for the Emergency Food Bank in Stockton

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