RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Thanksgiving travel is expected to reach pre-pandemic levels, with 55 million Americans taking a trip this week.
Ruth Bangma-Smith's daughter Amy was one of those people. She arrived Tuesday night at RDU International Airport into the arms of her very excited mother.
"It was great," said Ruth. "The flights were fabulous."
She had to stop in Atlanta to get from RDU from Pensacola, but it seemed well worth it.
"It's just great having everyone here, we have people represented from five states that are all here together," said Amy Foschiani, who lives in Apex.
If you're like Amy and needing to pick up relatives, you might face a long line of cars when you're coming through the terminals so leave some extra time.
The same goes for getting to RDU with Airport Boulevard out of commission until Christmas.
Parking was fine Tuesday night but things were booked up if you looked online in advance of Thanksgiving Day.
Premier Parking is the only available option and that runs nearly $30 per day. Even Economy 4, which opened back in September for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, was booked up for the next few days.
"The train is about $12 which is way cheaper than driving a car," said Robert Bizzell, who was coming home to Raleigh from Greensboro on Tuesday.
He's a freshman at North Carolina A&T.
"Thanksgiving is the time you get to spend with your family, eat good food and just bond," Bizzell said.
Some helpful RDU travel tips:
- If you are picking people up, you should try the upper and lower levels at Terminal 2.
- If you're traveling, avoid checking a bag and leave a ton of time Wednesday and Sunday.
- If you can't get parking at RDU, one expert recommends trying Fast Park which is just a five minute bus ride from the airport.
Rob Stern, with Rob Plans Your Trip in Raleigh, suggests showing the staff some kindness too.
"The major carriers are getting better at taking care of customers, but the volume of issues at the holidays makes it an ongoing challenge," Stern said. "As a last resort, an airline's station manager has the final say, but they will be busy, too."