Travelers Prepare for the Worst This Holiday Season

With the busiest travel days of the year right around the corner, travelers are getting ready to face long security lines at airports, jam-packed roads, and other travel-related frustrations.

According to a survey released by Travel Guard North America, 73 percent of travelers polled are "preparing for the worst when heading out of town this holiday season."

Travelers are mostly concerned with delays and cancellations at airports, which account for 67 percent of those polled. Twenty-five percent are worried they may miss their flights, while only five percent are stressed about lost luggage.

Speaking of luggage, in order to avoid hassles at the airport and avoid baggage fees, 17 percent of travelers planned to pack only carry-on luggage.

To prepare for possibly hectic travels, 43 percent of those polled are planning to arrive at the airport earlier than ever before. In addition, 35 percent are leaving for or returning from Thanksgiving destinations a few days earlier than usual.

Fifty percent of those polled said they hesitated to make travel plans over Thanksgiving due to limited flight schedules and potential delays. However, only 11 percent of those surveyed said they are staying home to avoid the inconveniences.

The Air Transport Association estimated 24 million people are going to take to the skies during the 12-day period surrounding Thanksgiving, a 3.5 percent jump from last year.

As if air travel over Thanksgiving weekend was not troublesome already, an Internet boycott of body scanners may clog security lines. Dubbed "National Opt-Out Day," the protest asks travelers to protest the use of full body scanners by subjecting themselves to body pat downs in full view of other passengers. The pat downs takes much longer than the body scans, a process that takes as little as 10 seconds.

"Just one or two recalcitrant passengers at an airport is all it takes to cause huge delays," said Paul Ruden, a spokesman for the American Society of Travel Agents, to the Associated Press. The agency has warned its more than 8,000 members about potential delays that could result from the boycott.

AAA is forecasting 42 million Americans will take to the road, rails or sky this Thanksgiving holiday, each of them traveling 50 miles away from home or more.

Looking to east the stress of holiday travel? Check out our survival guide: Holday Air Travel 101.

Photo by iowa_spirit_walker on flickr.

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