Image: Orbitz Names LAX As Busiest Airport For 2011 Thanksgiving Travel
Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

TODAY   |  November 20, 2012

Travelers crowd the road ahead of Thanksgiving

Nearly 44 million people in the U.S. will travel this Thanksgiving week with a whopping 90 percent driving. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> if you're traveling for the holiday rush and hitting the road this week you probably won't be alone. aaa predicts nearly 44 million americans will be traveling at least 50 miles or more over thanksgiving. next's tom costello is on i-270 in north potomac , maryland with a report for us this morning. tom, good morning to you.

>> hi, matt, good morning. heavy traffic this morning. chances are, if you're traveling you're going to be doing it starting today or tomorrow and the chances are you, too, will be on four wheels. on the east coast , the rush is already on at the popular i-95 delaware rest stop where a quarter of a million people will stop today through sunday. we found the vargas family driving from north carolina to new york .

>> from door to door it's about 560 miles.

>> reporter: the colemans and their three kids were headed to massachusetts.

>> virtually unaffordable to fly with three kids, all three needed a ticket.

>> reporter: in all, nearly 44 million of us will travel this week. that's 14% of the population.

>> carving turkey with family and friends still trumps pinching pennies.

>> reporter: and a whopping 90% of us are driving this year. object west coast chp officer carry reavis is working the 605. her warning, no drinking, no distractions.

>> do not come in contact with one of us, adhere to the speed laws, wear their seat belts, find a sober driver to drive snow good news for drivers, gas prices are within pennies of where they were a year ago, now averaging 3.41 a gallon, down 55 cents from their peak in april.

>> really nice that gas prices have come down.

>> reporter: for the 7% flying this year the prediction is for clear skies through the weekend. great news for the beaumont, texas, drill team that arrived in chicago for their ferris bueller moment. you know you look so good

>> definitely performing in the parade. i think will give everyone such an adrenaline rush and very exciting, you know, that we're going to be on tv in front of everyone.

>> reporter: back east big bottle next and confusion on i-495 in virginia which chose this week to introduce new express lanes .

>> at this time it's not clear, you know, how do we go about it.

>> reporter: while in delaware the martinez family is taking the scenic route from georgia to new york .

>> normally it's about 18 hours, but this time it's going to take a little longer because we're basically sight-seeing.

>> reporter: this is, after all, the biggest family travel period of the year. not to ruin any thanksgiving dinners, but the busiest travel day when the highways are the most congested, it will be sunday, so maybe you cut out a little bit early, like 6:00 on thursday or something. matt, back to you.

>> a lot of people going to call in sick monday morning. thank you very much, mr. costello.

>> speaking of that sunday after thanksgiving, trying to go home from fill toe new york . i realized too late. i had bought a ticket going in the other direction.

>> you talked your way on to. somehow, i got a