Coastal Georgians who are iffy about plans for the upcoming holiday season could find themselves out of luck if travel is on the agenda.

That desired out-of-town resort or event might be booked up by now or close to it.

An AAA Travel Survey found that 46% of Georgians intended to complete travel arrangements by the end of October.

The lowering of restrictions due to the availability of COVID-19 vaccines and waning caseloads are fueling greater interest in taking to the air or highways in 2021.

In 2020, only 30% of those surveyed indicated travel plans.

Holiday travelers will be headed for family, a change of scenery or pure relaxation.

Those with distant destinations will likely depend on air travel. Anyone in this subset should already have a flight and destination.

“Time is of the essence for people who plan to take a flight this holiday season,” said Debbie Haas, vice president of Travel for AAA — The Auto Club Group.

“As we get closer to the holidays, airfares often rise as availability shrinks.”

Haas said the chance of finding the ideal flight at a favorable rate begins diminishing after Halloween.

More will travel by car than plane. According to AAA, 42% of Georgians — that’s two out of every five — are banking on taking a vacation of three days or more during the holiday season.

Those who use the highways might consider taking along extra cash. As of Monday, the average price of gasoline in Georgia was $3.25 per gallon for regular unleaded, 2 cents more than a week ago, 27 cents more than last month and $1.29 more than this time last year. And the beginning of the holiday season is still weeks away.

The Centers for Disease Control is counting on travelers adhering to safety measures. It recommends the COVID-19 vaccine for all eligible individuals who will be traveling.

“Protect those not yet eligible for vaccination such as young children by getting yourself and other eligible people around them vaccinated,” the CDC says.

Other frequently cited safety measures also should be part of the daily routine, it said, including wearing a mask when indoors around others.

It urges travelers to remember that outdoors is generally safer than indoors and to practice all recommended precautions, including safe distancing, in a closed environment when in the company of others.

“Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces,” the CDC said.

A large percentage of Georgians plan to stay put this Thanksgiving and Christmas. According to the AAA survey, 37% of Georgians intend to celebrate at home due to the pandemic.

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