Travelers hit the highways for Labor Day weekend

Posted by: Melissa Johnson - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) – The beach, State Parks, and college football games are just a few of the hot spots making this Labor Day weekend a big one for traveling.

Friday afternoon, highways were packed with folks already en route to weekend destinations.

Not only is this weekend the unofficial end to summer, but it's the start of college football season, so it's bound to be a busy weekend on the roads.

After gassing up the car, Mike Byrd is headed home to get ready for a big weekend.

"We're going up to Tuscaloosa for the football game," he said.

As football fans across the state hit the highways, Byrd says he's ready to take on the traffic.

"We're expecting to see lots of people on the road to Tuscaloosa.  It's not a big opponent, but it's a big deal because it's the first game since the expansion and since the National Championship."

This weekend, AAA Travel Experts predict that 35 million travelers will take to the roads this weekend, even if just for the day.

Montgomery resident Gina Kelley said, "We plan on visiting the family in Prattville.  That's why we're gassing up."

Good news for drivers, gas prices fell just in time for the Labor Day Holiday, but some say, it's not enough.

"I want to see gas be back to $1 a gallon," said Kim Wyatt.

She came to Montgomery from Georgia to pick her daughter up from Alabama State University for the weekend.

Still, others say that even an expensive tank of gas won't keep them home.

Mike Byrd said, "It's just a necessary evil.  If we want to go, we'll pay whatever we have to pay."

Alabama Tourism officials are hoping at least some of travelers are heading to the coast for one last boost before the off season.

Last month, the state launched a new advertising campaign with Taylor Hicks, hoping to salvage what was left of the summer, especially Labor Day weekend.

For businesses along the coast, it seems to be working.  This weekend, local rental companies say occupancy is at 95%, which is the best so far this year.

They have also brought in extra workers to handle all of the people checking in to condos over the weekend.

Business owners hope it will help their bottom line which was crushed by the oil spill all summer long.

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