Holiday travel rush ramps up across board as Thanksgiving weekend comes to close

CHARLOTTE — From high in the sky to down on the roads, hundreds of people will be heading home after the holiday, full from their Thanksgiving meals.

While national airports like Charlotte Douglass were plagued with standstill traffic and delays, dozens of people chose to travel by car and train. According to Amtrak, passenger traffic on trains is up more than 20% this year.

John dropped off his daughter at the train station on Saturday; she’s not a fan of the crowds and enjoys a simpler commute to her home in Raleigh.

“She just doesn’t like to fly; she doesn’t like the crowds at the airport or the crowds on the plane. She lives in Raleigh,” he said.

Triple AAA estimated that about 50 million motorists would hit the highway, an increase of 17% over the last year. Donna Dunmeyer drove up from Charleston to Concord to see her grandkids for Thanksgiving; this year’s traffic added about two hours to her usual brief drive.

“Bumper to bumper, it would take us 3 hours to get to 5 hours now,” Dunmeyer said.

Surprisingly, cruise ships also received major attention this holiday, with most lines being fully booked.

“Cruises have bounced back in a big way. I mean, so many ships are full this Thanksgiving holiday as people are opting not to have Thanksgiving dinner at home and to take a cruise, a family cruise,” Tiffany Wright with Triple AAA said.

Buses were no stranger to the higher numbers of holiday travelers this year. Hezekiah Maddox was returning home to Greenville, South Carolina; fortunately for him, the bus wasn’t too crowded.

“When I came down here, it was the day before Thanksgiving; the bus wasn’t filled, but it was a very enjoyable ride. I got the seat to myself,” Maddox said.

Those traveling on Sunday or Monday can expect plenty of company; those are expected to be the busiest travel days of the year.

(WATCH BELOW: Charlotte Douglas expects busiest holiday travel days on Sunday, Monday)