Traveling for turkey, Vermonters among millions on the move for the holidays

Burlington, Vt. (WCAX) – It’s one of the busiest travel days of the year as people try to get home for the Thanksgiving holiday. Some of those groups are passing through Burlington International Airport.

Burlington International Airport is expected to screen 2,500 people on Wednesday, compared with 1,750 on a normal day, according to the TSA.

Some people go to see family, while others get away from the cold Vermont November weather.

New at the airport this year is the first big travel push to now have four security machines aimed at streamlining the process.

“When you get to the security checkpoint, and you’re going to put your stuff on the conveyor belt. Take all of your loose items, your keys, and your wallet and replace all of those items. Take them out of your pockets and put them in your carry-on,” said Daniel Velez with TSA New England.

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But even with the streamlined process, Velez still recommends getting to the airport two hours early, especially this time of year.

“The thing about travel is it’s unpredictable. So I don’t know if we’ll ever get to a point where we can recommend you go to the airport with less than 2-hours because travel schedules can change and flights can be canceled. There are many things that can happen that slow down the screening process,” Velez said.

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And if you don’t want to take a plane, some in northern Vermont have a new way to travel.

Amtrak’s Ethan Allen Express recently expanded from Rutland to Middlebury, Vergence and Burlington. Amtrak said it sold out twice this week.

“It saves me a drive and it’s not fun to fly these days, and I really want to support it,” said Rhonda Freed from South Burlington.

“You can sit and look at the countryside instead of focusing on white-knuckling the highway,” says Michael Tortora from San Francisco.

If flights or trains aren’t for you this holiday, the roads are likely to be packed too. Nationwide, AAA expects about 55 million people to travel over the long holiday weekend, and most of them will travel by car.

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AAA estimates that 49 million people will take a road trip, with 4.5 million people catching a plane and about 1.5 million taking a bus, train or cruise ship.

In New England alone, AAA estimates that nearly 3M will travel 50 miles or more from home for the holiday.

Experts recommend that you leave before 11am this morning or tomorrow and avoid traveling between 4pm and 8pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

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