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If you're heading over the river and through the woods this holiday season in Minnesota, you won't be alone as travel experts expect the most travelers in over 20 years.

After being down for several years, travel is expected to increase this holiday season.

After several years where traveling to be with family and friends was discouraged (thanks, pandemic!), this holiday season is shaping up to be a busy one on the roads, highways and even in the air in Minnesota.

AAA-Minnesota just released its travel forecast for the 2022 holiday season, and it said that 112.7 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home from December 23 to January 2. That’s an increase of 3.6 million people compared to last year and the third busiest since AAA began tracking holiday travel in 2000.

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Holiday travel could be the fourth-highest on record in Minnesota.

Closer to home here in our neck of the woods, AAA says that in the West North Central Region (which includes Minnesota, Iowa, North and South Dakota, and Nebraska) 8.8 million travelers will journey 50 miles or more away from home this year-- an increase of nearly 241,000 people over last year. These numbers are the fourth-highest travel volume for the year-end holiday travel period on record for our region.

If you're flying this holiday season, you can also expect airports, including the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in Bloomington, to be bustling, as well. AAA noted that air travel is expected to increase 14 percent over last year, with nearly 7.2 million Americans expected to fly.


Those numbers will be close to pre-pandemic days, AAA said, and the report expects the number of people taking holiday flights this year will come close to matching 2019 when 7.3 million Americans traveled by air.

So when are the busiest times on the roads this holiday season?

The busiest times on the roads this holiday season in the Land of 10,000 Lakes will happen between 4 and 7 pm on  Friday, December 23, and between noon and 6 pm on Christmas Eve, December 24th. Christmas Day is expected to be fairly quiet for travel, but increases will be likely between 2 and 6 pm on December 26th, and again from 3 to 7 pm on December 27th through December 30th.

As the song says, many of us will be heading home for the holidays this year where we'll spend time with family and friends. Keep scrolling to take a walk down memory lane and see what Christmas looked like when we were kids!

Listen to Curt St. John in the Morning
Weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m. on Quick Country 96.5

LOOK: See what Christmas was like the year you were born

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