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Holiday Travel: Best and worst times to hit the road, tips for parking at JAX airport

An estimated 4.2 million people will travel by air this year, and at JAX leaders are expecting numbers nearly back to pre-pandemic times.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Over 50 million people are expected to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday with Tuesday and Wednesday set to be the most expensive and heaviest travel days, according to AAA.

Travel overall, including air, road and bus, is up 13% from 2020. 

Wednesday will have the heaviest traffic on the roads, according to AAA. The best time to make your trip is after 9 p.m. Wednesday night.

On Thanksgiving Day, the top travel hours are between noon to 3 p.m. AAA recommends drivers get on the road before 11 a.m. Between noon and 3 p.m. will see the most traffic, and the best travel time is before 11 a.m. 

And then coming back from the holiday looking ahead to Sunday, the worst times to travel are between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., and the best time is before 12 p.m.

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About 4.2 million people are expected to travel by air this year. At Jacksonville International Airport, officials are expecting numbers nearly back to pre-pandemic times.

Airport representatives say most traffic leaves early in the morning, between 5 a.m. to 10 a.m., so give yourself enough time to beat the crowds.

As of 2:36 p.m. Wednesday, JAX tweeted that Economy Lot #1, the Daily Surface Lot and the Daily Garage are at capacity and are now closed. there is still parking available in the Hourly Garage and in Economy Lot #2, the airport says.

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It’s different for different people but two hours getting to the airport is a good time that will not get you compressed in time and have you concerned about getting on your flight," Michael Stewart said the Director of External affairs with Jacksonville Aviation Authority.

With more people flying, that means overnight parking will fill up and could increase your travel time. As of Tuesday night, overnight parking at economy lot 1 had reached full capacity. The airport opened economy lot 2 to accommodate travelers. 

There are multiple lots available for daily parking, ranging from $20 to $6 per day. 

There is a shuttle to and from the economy lots. The ride time on that can be as short as 6 minutes to a max of 15, according to airport officials.

They expect travelers to have no issues finding a spot.

“Parking is going to be I think plentiful expect I think there will be periods when our meeters and greeters that come to pick people up, the hourly parking garage may close for a short period," Stewart said.