So, Linne Katz and her five children hit the road, leaving their home in Haledon, N.J., at 1 a.m. Wednesday in hopes of getting to her father's home in Tennessee while the sun was still up. Driving has downsides, she said.
"My oldest keeps having to go the bathroom. ... I think he's getting carsick," Katz said, as she stopped to take pictures of her children under the "Virginia Welcomes You" sign at an I-66 rest stop near the Manassas National Battlefield.
And even with all the alternatives to flying, some still said they couldn't afford the journey.
Lisa Appleton, 42, of Sandy Springs, Ga., said she lost her job as an accounting manager during the holidays last year. Her new job at an ice skating rink pays less, and she said that forced her to skip her usual Thanksgiving road trip to visit family in northeast Ohio.
"This is the first year that I have not gone in like five years," she said. "It seems weird to me."
She planned to spend the holiday at home with her 23-year-old son, eating and watching football. After checking airline prices, she decided they'll also stay in Georgia for Christmas.
"It breaks my heart, but it's something you've got to do," she said. "If you don't have the money, you just — you can't do it."
Associated Press writers Maryclaire Dale in Philadelphia, P. Solomon Banda in Denver, Kantele Franko in Columbus, Ohio; and Matthew Barakat in Chantilly, Va., contributed to this report.
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