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Travel is likely to be frustrating for those looking to vacation with family and friends

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As travelers feel more comfortable resuming vacation travel and celebrations, they will continue to face delays, cancellations and other frustrations, says a Virginia Tech expert.

The reality is that the hospitality industry is still recovering from the impact of COVID, says travel and tourism professor Mahmood Khan.

“The backbone of the travel industry is affected due to the blockage in the supply chain; acute labor shortages; and get out of the psychology of confinement,” says Khan. “The problems facing the travel industry are evident with last minute flight cancellations, lost luggage, delays and unruly customer stories.”

Khan says expecting travel to be as normal as it was in the pre-pandemic period will bring more disappointment. Airline prices have increased significantly, which requires advance planning, especially for holiday travel.

“Even when travelers are mentally prepared to pay a little more to get out of isolation, the shock of the stickers can be stressful. The Thanksgiving break will be a pre-test of things to come, and Christmas travel could turn out to be a nightmare,” says Khan.

Travel challenges aside, Khan says safety should come first and taking precautions is a must.

“Considering all the negative aspects, the best will be to enjoy the holidays with family and friends despite some inconvenience.”

Vacationers staying in hotels are on the rise

The share of holidaymakers planning to stay in hotels is on the rise this year, and hotels are the top choice of accommodation among those who are certain to travel for leisure in the next three months, according to a survey commissioned by the ‘American Hotel & Lodging Association.

  • 31% of Thanksgiving travelers plan to stay in a hotel during their trip, up from 22% who planned to do so last year.
  • 28% of Christmas travelers plan to stay in a hotel during their trip, up from 23% who planned to do so last year.
  • Among those who are absolutely certain to travel for leisure in the next three months, 54% plan to stay in a hotel.
  • However, overall holiday travel levels are likely to remain stable, with 28% of Americans saying they are likely to travel for Thanksgiving and 31% likely to travel for Christmas this year – up from 29% and 33%, respectively, in 2021. .

The survey also found that worries about COVID-19 are fading among travelers, but are being replaced by economic challenges like inflation and high gas prices.

“This survey reinforces our optimism about the near-term outlook for hotels for a number of reasons,” said AHLA President and CEO Chip Rogers. “The share of holidaymakers planning hotel stays is increasing, business travel plans are on the rise and hotels are the first choice of accommodation for those who are certain to travel for leisure in the near future. This is great news for our industry as well as current and potential hospitality employees, who are enjoying more and better career opportunities than ever before.

VDOT lifts most lane closures in Virginia

The Virginia Department of Transportation will make road travel easier by suspending many roadwork zones and lifting most lane closures on freeways and other major roads in Virginia from noon Wednesday, Nov. 23 to noon Monday, Nov. 28 .

However, drivers may encounter semi-permanent work areas during this time.

According to the VDOT, based on historical travel data, periods of heavy congestion are most likely to occur from mid-morning until evening on Wednesday, November 23, afternoon on Saturday, November 26, and all day on Sunday November 27. Additionally, roads to and from Northern Virginia are likely to be heavily congested from mid-morning to late evening on Tuesday, November 29.

VDOT: Tips for staying safe on the road

It is everyone’s responsibility to drive responsibly.

Do your part to make travel safer for everyone:

  • If you plan to drink, have a designated driver
  • Buckle up and make sure children and car seats are secure
  • In the event of a winter weather threat, travelers should pay close attention to forecasts, official announcements and advisories, and should adjust their trip according to the conditions.
  • Use signals for lane changes and turns
  • Take a break if you’re sleepy
  • Keep a first aid kit in case of cold weather
  • Don’t drive distracted and speak up if someone else does

Weather can impact Thanksgiving travel

Stormy weather could cause chaos for last-minute travelers to part of the country, according to the AccuWeather Global Weather Center.

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving has been identified as the busiest travel day around the late November holiday, but there has been a noticeable shift in recent years.

According to AccuWeather’s long-range forecasting team, the biggest weather hotspot on Wednesday, November 23 will be the western United States, which will include cities such as Seattle, Salt Lake City and Denver.

“We expect significant travel disruptions due to wet, windy and snowy weather in northwest and northern California,” said AccuWeather senior meteorologist Paul Pastelok. “This intense weather will extend eastward into the northern Rockies.”

Mountain passes could be closed due to heavy snowfall, including Donner Pass in California. This will force travelers on Interstate 80 to change their routes in order to reach their destinations before Thanksgiving dinner.

Better weather is predicted for Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas and Phoenix.

Further east, cold but dry weather is forecast for most of Wednesday, including New York, Chicago and Atlanta.

However, not all of the eastern United States will have calm weather conditions.

A cold front expected to collide with warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico will bring rain and thunderstorms to parts of the southern Mississippi Plains and Valley. While this rain is much needed for the parched Mississippi River, it could cause delays for motorists as well as air travelers.

Weather-related flight delays and cancellations could have an accordion effect across the country, potentially disrupting flights to or from cities where conditions are dry and calm.

Thanksgiving Day/NFL Football/Black Friday Weather Forecast

Those heading for scooters, parades, football games in Turkey as well as last-minute travelers could all face inclement weather on Thanksgiving Day as several storm systems spread rain and snow across large areas of the United States.

Widespread rain and snow are forecast for the Pacific Northwest, northern Rockies and northern and central California.

Weather won’t be a factor for NFL games to be played on Thursday as all three games will be played in stadiums that have roofs, although pre-game tailgates in Detroit and Dallas may have to endure periods of unstable weather that could put a damper on the festivities.

Stormy weather could linger over much of the eastern United States through Black Friday, which may dampen the holiday spirit for bargain-hunting shoppers as well as people traveling immediately after Thanksgiving.

Elsewhere, dry conditions are likely across much of the central and western United States, although another storm may approach the Pacific Northwest with another round of mountain rain and snow , according to meteorologists.