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Travelers Making Up For Lost Time This Holiday Season

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Sonora, CA — The COVID-19 pandemic kept families apart last Christmas, but this year AAA predicts crowded roads and skies, with air travel nearly tripling over last year.

More than 109 million people across the country will head out of town between this Friday, Dec. 23, and  Sunday, Jan. 2. It is a dramatic bounce-back that will bring this year’s numbers to 92% of 2019 levels.

“With vaccines widely available, conditions are much different and many people feel a greater level of comfort traveling but travelers will still be mindful of the pandemic and the new omicron variant,” said Sergio Avila, AAA Northern California spokesperson.

The breakdown of travelers includes more than 100 million rolling down roadways and 6 million taking to the skies. AAA reports that road trips remain the top mode of transportation during the holidays, despite gas costing $1.25 per gallon more than a year ago. Of the over 14 million Californians expected to travel, 88.75% of those will be hitting the road, according to AAA. Here in the Mother Lode, the average price of gas in Sonora is around $4.45 a gallon, San Andreas is cheaper at $4.29. Click here to find the lowest prices. The latest gas prices in the area are listed on and can be viewed anytime, just go to the homepage and click on traffic.

AAA gives these travel tips:

  • Be Patient. The roads and airports will be busy so plan ahead. For domestic air travel, AAA suggests arriving at the airport 2 hours ahead of departure time and 3 hours for international flights.
  • Be Prepared. There are bound to be traffic slowdowns and vehicle breakdowns. AAA expects to respond to as many as 1.3 million calls for help.
  • Be Protected. AAA’s COVID-19 Travel Restrictions can be found here.