NEW YORK (AP) — As travelers take to the road, air and rail in the last days before Christmas, they should keep one thing in mind: It could be worse.
Steve Kent scoffed at lines Thursday morning at New York's LaGuardia Airport as he got ready to fly to Denver on a family ski trip.
"I don't find it that difficult," he said. "I think Thanksgiving is harder."
The spread-out nature of the end-of-year holidays means travel facilities aren't quite so cramped now as they are on the day before Thanksgiving, when practically everyone who's going somewhere is on the move.
"Unlike the other holiday periods, the year-end holiday travel period is extended," said Troy Green, a spokesman for AAA. "We have a lot of folks who already may have taken off of work. ... They may have arrived at their destination before today."
Green said travel is expected to be up about 3 percent this year, with more than 92 million people planning to go more than 50 miles sometime between now and Jan. 2.
The most densely populated parts of the country are getting a break from the weather.
The rain that pounded California has stopped. And while a snowstorm is making its way across the country, it's not expected to hit the crowded East Coast until the weekend.
That could make for some more treacherous return trips — but it makes getting there easier.
After last year's record-breaking snow falls in the East, the way weather can mess up travel seems to be on plenty of minds.
At LaGuardia, Mike and Martha Lee Mellis were waiting to fly from New York to Aspen, Colo., with their three young sons.
They were dreading a repeat of last winter's ski trip, when a snowstorm hit while they were transferring in Chicago on their way home.
"We had to return via Philadelphia and I had to rent a car and drive everybody home at 11 at night," Mike Mellis recalled.
His wife had been trying to forget. "I've blocked it all out," she said.
Warren Levinson in New York and Geoff Mulvihill in Haddonfield, N.J., contributed to this article.
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