RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) – About 65,000 passengers are expected to rush through Richmond International Airport during Memorial Day weekend.
Experts are calling the big return “travel revenge” as travelers are itching to get back to normal after two years of uncertainty.
Carrying bags and beads through RIC, the Saunders family said a vacation is long overdue. “We’re going to sight see. We’re going to have some good eats. Definitely have some good drinks but just spending quality time together, ”Anita Saunders said.
High gas prices, airfare and hotels aren’t deterring plans. At RIC, travel rates are up nearly 90% this weekend. While over 90,000 Virginians are expected to hit the road.
“You have gas prices kind of pushing people one way to think, ‘Wow, I’m spending a $ 1.50 more per gallon this Memorial Day than last Memorial Day’. But on the flip side, you’ve also had two years of people not traveling as much, ”Morgan Dean with AAA said.
Char Smith is one of those people bringing back travel plans this weekend.
“[I was] a little nervous at first because the airport was very, very crowded coming from Atlanta, but it feels good to get back to normal, ”Smith said.
She’s finally getting a chance to reunite with her family for the first time since the pandemic.
“We’re pretty excited about being here and seeing everybody that we haven’t seen because within the last two years people lost a lot of folks,” Smith said.
RIC officials are urging passengers to arrive 2-3 hours before departure. Virginia State Police will have additional troopers patrolling as road travel is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels.
Experts typically view Memorial Day weekend travel as a guide to summer travel expectations. Dean expects it to be a busy summer ahead.
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