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Busy travel season just getting started

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Updated: 12/25/2013 11:40 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Christmas is almost over, but Andrea Rappa and her kids still have bags full of unopened gifts.

“We'll make the flight but the bags may not catch up to us,” she said as they ran to catch a flight to New York from JIA.

Rappa booked the flight last minute, unable to find seats on any other day except Christmas.

“It puts a damper on the holiday. I wish I had been there two days before.”

On Monday, though, winter weather grounded planes across the country, and forced many of the record 94.5 million US travelers predicted this holiday to adjust their plans.

Like Frank Parda, who decided to drive to Florida from Connecticut, which saved he and his wife money.

While Florida features the highest gas prices in the southeast, AAA expects them to drop nationwide before the new year, which is good news for Parda and nearly 89 million other drivers who will hit the road over the next week.

“Flying at this time would've cost us probably $1,000 round trip as opposed to $160 in gas.”

But AAA expects 5.53 million others will fly, including thousands in Jacksonville who we found are already lining up late Christmas Day. So far, there are no significant delays, but with so many people, there will likely be some. That’s why Rappa won’t fly again until 2014.

“I think that I avoided it by traveling on Christmas Day,” she said.

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