ROCHESTER N.Y. (WROC) — The AAA forecast for travel this year is almost 55 million people nationwide, which is just shy of pre-pandemic levels.

“The silver lining here is that we’re predicting record travel here in New York. Nearly 3.6 million people are expected to travel by air, car, bus, and train here in New York over the five day thanksgiving holiday.”

AAA Communication Specialist — and former News 8 morning anchor — Mark Gruba says there are a couple of reasons for that.

“One, people have missed their loved ones. There’s a pinned-up demand to go see their loved ones and the other thing is the easing of travel restrictions has made a lot more people comfortable with the idea of traveling whether it’s by car or by air,” he says.

He says this is the case even despite inflation causing gas prices to be 20 cents higher nationally compared to last year as well as hotel prices that have spiked between 14%-17% higher and airfare jumping 22% higher.

With all of this in mind, he shares tips on beating the rush and saving money.

“So obviously you want to try and get out early which a lot of people are doing here at the airport today and then on the back end of it if you can extend your stay into Monday that avoids hitting those peak travel times on Sunday when so many people are trying to come home,” says Gruba.

He says to avoid peak travel times between 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Instead, he suggests traveling early in the morning, before 8 a.m.