Another busy year for RV travel is predicted

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It’s going to be another big year for road trips.

This year, at least 600,000 RVs, an all-time high, are expected to be available for purchase, according to the RV Industry Association. Camping spots at National Parks are also expected to fill up months in advance.

The RV Super Show returned to Music City Center in Nashville January 21-23. This is the 17th time the show has come to the convention center, and this year it spanned 100,000 square feet.

“There’s stuff that if you just wanted to go to your closest campground and spend a weekend, or you wanted to go across the country to a National Forest you’ve never been to, and want to do something with your family… there’s things for everything,” said Jordon Nelson of BK Productions.

A dealership at the show, Bankston Motor Homes, said when the pandemic startedm interest in recreational vehicles skyrocketed.

“Bottom line that’s why the RV industry is booming right now,” said Eddie Sisk. “Even in the small trailer up to the big rig, everyone is wanting their own place to stay.”

Bankston Motor Homes brought a 2022 Tiffin Motorhomes Allegro Bus 45 OPP to the show. Inside, people could see that new RVs are designed to look like residential homes.

“What’s going on today is they’ve improved RVs to where it’s actually a home away from home. When you get in this it’s just like being at home,” Sisk said.

An RV Industry Association survey found that 72 million Americans plan on taking an RV trip this year.

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Interstate 95 closed for a bit in Florida on busy travel day

File photo shows traffic signs for Interstate 95 in Florida. (Creative Commons)

ORMOND BEACH, Fla. – Severe delays on Interstate 95 in the Ormond Beach area are triggering miles of back-ups for thousands of drivers the day after Christmas.

The section of I-95 in central Florida was completely closed following a multi-car crash. One lane has since reopened.

First responders and a medic helicopter were at the scene, according to Orlando television station WFTV.

Traffic cameras in the area show some motorists out of their cars on the side of the road, unable to move out of the area.

No further information was immediately available on the cause of the crash and how many people were involved.

News4JAX expects to learn more when the Florida Highway Patrol releases a crash report later today.

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Economy lot at ABIA full during busy holiday travel season

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — Two New Hampshire brothers have gotten their holiday regifting skills down to an art — they’ve been passing the same hard candy back and forth for more than 30 years.

It started in 1987, when Ryan Wasson gave a 10-roll Frankford “Santa’s Candy Book” with assorted fruit flavors to his brother, Eric Wasson, as a joke for Christmas, knowing that Eric wouldn’t like it.

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Airports brace for busy travel days ahead of holidays – Action News Jax

Jacksonville, FL — Santa isn’t the only one hitting the skies soon for a Christmas trip around the world!

TSA agents are getting ready to screen thousands of flyers here locally, and upwards of 30 million across the country between this week and January 3.

Millions of travelers are flying to their holiday destination, including at Jacksonville International Airport.

TSA expects Wednesday and Thursday will be the busiest dates to travel before the holidays.

President Joe Biden says vaccinated travelers don’t have to cancel their plans.

[RELATED: Coronavirus: Biden lays out plan to curb omicron surge, focuses on vaccinations]

“Since I’m vaccinated, it kind of gives you peace of mind,” traveler Nick Muruako said.

For further peace of mind, experts recommend rapid tests before a family gathering.

“They could add another layer of protection, or security if they all got a rapid test that morning,” said Dr. William Schaffner, professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

The biggest takeaway from travelers and experts alike: give yourself some time.

“Thank God we got here, just an hour or so early,” traveler Chris Ferguson said.

The thought of reuniting with loved ones also helped travelers ease some of that holiday anxiety.

“If ultimately you’re trying to go and see family, you make time to do that no matter the circumstances,” said Ferguson.

You can find more TSA travel tips for the holidays here:

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Airport travel tips during busy holidays | News

The Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority released tips for passengers and guests to follow during peak holiday travel times.

Face coverings will be required at all times inside the airport and aircrafts, regardless of vaccination status. Guests waiting inside terminal buildings to pick up passengers will also be required to wear face coverings. 

They suggest the following for passengers at McGhee Tyson Airport:

• Arrive at the airport at least two hours before the scheduled flight to find a parking spot and get through security

• Visit or the airline’s website to check the flight status before arriving at the airport

• If the airport parking garage is full due to construction, parking is available in the Economy Lot behind the Airport Hilton

• Reserve ground transportation in advance

They suggest the following for picking up passengers at McGhee Tyson Airport:

• Both lower and upper roadways can be used for pickup

• An airport phone and wait lot are available for pickup assistance, mapped locations of which are available on

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Long Lines, Crowds at O’Hare Airport as Busy Holiday Travel Rush Begins – NBC Chicago

Long lines were seen at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport Tuesday as the the busy holiday travel rush began this week with COVID cases rising across the U.S.

Photos and video from the airport showed crowds of people lined up at bag drops and in security.

Between the city’s two airports – O’Hare and Midway – about 3 million travelers are expected between now and Jan. 3.

In total, AAA predicts more than 100 million people will hit the roads, sky and other forms of transportation over the Christmas holiday.

The Transportation Security Administration reported just over 2 million travelers on Saturday alone. That’s well over the just over 1 million reported for the same day in 2020, but short of the 2.4 million seen in 2019.

United Airlines said it expects 8 million people will fly between Dec. 16 and Jan. 2, more than double the number of travelers from the same time last year and about 87% compared to in 2019.

At O’Hare Airport alone, the airline expects 72,000 passengers will fly on its busiest travel day, Dec. 23.

Delta Air Lines on Thursday said travel demand — and fares — in the fourth quarter are rising, despite the omicron variant, CNBC reported.

But some experts say demand has started to slow.

“You can see however in the numbers that the comfort and the level of confidence in travel is dropping, but not as steep as we’ve seen in 2020,” Trivago CEO Axel Hefer told NBC News.

COVID is once again surging in many parts of the country, with deaths now topping 800,000 in the U.S.

In Chicago, a travel advisory remains in effect with 42 states and Washington D.C. on the warning list for travelers. The advisory is expected to be updated once more before the Christmas holiday on Tuesday.

But while the new omicron variant has many top health officials concerned, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease expert, said the U.S. is in a better position now than it was last year thanks to the expansion of vaccines, which are now available for a wider range of ages, including children as young as 5.

The Biden administration is expecting a series of breakthrough infections with the surge of holiday travelers. Fauci said most people who have been vaccinated and gotten a booster should be fine if they take precautions such as wearing masks in crowded settings including airports.

Local health experts agreed.

“You want to be safe during the time that you’re traveling if you’re on an airplane,” said Dr. Robert Citronberg, medical director for infectious disease at Advocate Aurora Health.

He added that being safe at your destination is also equally as important.

“You want to just try to, as best as possible, avoid large crowds and maybe even more important is just to surrounding yourself with people that you know to be fully vaccinated,” he said.

So what should those traveling keep in mind this holiday season?

“I think the most important thing to remember is how and when to use testing to your advantage,” Dr. Natalie Azar, a medical contributor for NBC News said. “The idea is that you want to do a test really within a few hours of meeting with a family or friends or folks outside of your household.”

If you’re re-thinking holiday travel plans, cancellation policies vary based on the type of ticket purchased and airlines.

Some, like Delta Airlines, temporarily removed change fees during the pandemic.

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Thunder Schedule: Busy Travel Week Ahead

The Oklahoma City Thunder are sitting at the very bottom of the Western Conference standings with a record of 9-19. With that in mind, they’re coming into this week off of a win against the LA Clippers, where Shai Gilgeous-Alexander hit a game-winning triple.

With four games this week for the Thunder, there will be plenty of travel. They’ll rotate being at home and on the road in all four contests this week, never staying in the same city for consecutive games.

Let’s take a look at their schedule for the week.

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Busy holiday travel season underway as COVID-19 cases climb

As the busy holiday travel season gets underway, COVID-19 case numbers are on the rise and medical experts are concerned.

Saturday is the busiest travel day of the Christmas and New Year’s holiday travel period, according to Orlando International Airport officials.

“We come here and there are a million people here. So it’s a good thing we came early,” said one traveler who saw the busy crowds on Saturday.

Many passengers say with COVID-19 case numbers on the rise, they took precautions.

“It was a concern, but we had planned this trip for months, so everyone quarantined, got their vaccines, and just were ready to go,” said one passenger.

RELATED: WHO urges elderly to postpone travel plans amid rise of omicron variant

“It was definitely a concern as we were getting closer and closer to the trip, but we were just being vigilant and smart about what we were doing,” added another passenger.

According to new numbers from the Florida Department of Health that were released on Friday, in the week of December 3, cases were at 13,530. For the week of December 10, that number more than doubled at 29,568 new cases reported. The positivity rate also went from 2.6% to 5.4%.

Medical expert Dr. Todd Husty says the new numbers are troubling.

“We’re not over with this pandemic yet, and it’s not over with us,” said Husty.

RELATED: CDC tool shows how to improve airflow during indoor gatherings

He’s warning the community to not let their guards down during the holidays with the Delta and now Omicron variant spreading. He says the new variant may not make you as sick but spreads faster.

“We all need to pay attention because this thing is not gone yet,” said Husty. “It may not be quite as bad as far as hospitalizations, but it’s still bad.”

Travelers concerned about their COVID-19 virus status can get help at some airports.

The CDC started a pilot program for international travelers, giving them free COVID-19 rapid test kits.
Right now, it’s only being offered at the airport in Minneapolis, Miami and Chicago. Other airports will soon get the free kits. 

Watch FOX 35 News for the latest updates on COVID-19.

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