41°F
weather icon Clear

How to navigate ‘record’ holiday travel season in, out of Las Vegas

With the holiday season in full swing, knowing how and when to get around is key to a merry travel experience.

Whether you’re traveling by road or the air, planning ahead is key so you’re not left feeling like a child who discovered a lump of coal in their stockings.

“We anticipate heavy traffic during the holiday season, especially along the Interstate 15 and resort corridors,” said Tony Illia, spokesman for the Nevada Department of Transportation. “As such, we urge motorists to budget additional time when making travel plans.”

The Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Authority estimates there will be 260,000 visitors for the nights of Dec. 23-24, with estimated direct economic impact of $187.4 million. For New Year’s Eve, LVCVA expects 333,000 visitors, a 1.5 percent increase over 2018 due to additional room inventory, with a direct economic impact of $240.2 million.

Nationally, a record 115.6 million people are expected to travel between Dec. 21 and Jan. 1, according to AAA Nevada, which named Las Vegas the No. 5 destination for holiday travelers. That is the most since AAA began tracking travelers in 2000 and represents a 3.9 percent increase over last year.

AAA estimates that more than 104 million holiday travelers will drive to their destinations, with global transportation analytics company INRIX expecting delays to be the worst on Dec. 26.

“Travelers should be getting used to crowded highways and airports, as this marks the eighth straight year of new record-high travel volumes for the year-end holidays,” said Sergio Avila, spokesman for AAA Nevada.

AAA Nevada is expecting 7,620 calls for service throughout the state, with flat tires and battery issues being the top reason for a call. AAA Nevada recommends motorists take their vehicles to a trusted repair shop to perform any needed maintenance before heading out on a road trip.

With the holidays being a stressful time for some,

AAA offers these tips to help avoid road rage:

Do not offend: Don’t cause another driver to change their speed or direction.

Be tolerant and forgiving: Don’t take a driver’s actions personally.

Do not respond: If another motorist becomes confrontational, avoid eye contact, don’t make gestures, maintain space around your vehicle and call 911 if needed.

Flying tips

Nearly 7 million Americans were expected to fly to their holiday destinations, the most since 2003, AAA reported.

AAA’s analysis of its flight booking data revealed most travelers depart two to four days prior to the Christmas holiday, marking Dec. 21-23 as the busiest days.

Dec. 22 is slated to be the busiest air travel day of the holiday week. Christmas Eve is the best day to travel, with the lowest average price per ticket ($527) and the smallest crowds of the holiday week.

Travelers opting to fly after Christmas leading up to New Year’s will pay a premium to do so, as flights on Dec. 26 had the highest average ticket price of the week at $692.

McCarran International Airport offers the following tips:

Wait to wrap gifts: Wrapped gifts are not prohibited, but if an item sets off an alarm, security officers may have to unwrap the item to inspect it. Officials recommend using gift bags or waiting to wrap a gift until at your destination.

Be prepared for travel impacts: Families should be prepared and pack extra essential items such as diapers, formula or anything else that may become necessary during a flight delay.

Arrive early: Plan to arrive at McCarran at least 90 minutes before your scheduled departure time, and allow even more time if you plan to park in an economy lot.

Know before you go: Each airline is different, so be aware of fees that may be assessed for carry-on or checked baggage.

Prepare for the checkpoint: Travelers are asked to familiarize themselves with the latest security checkpoint policies and procedures by checking the Transportation Security Administration’s website at tsa.gov.

Those traveling with pets may visit McCarran’s website for pet relief locations.

Parking tips

Certain McCarran parking facilities will reach capacity, such as the Terminal 1 Long Term Garage and the Terminal 3 Economy Lot. When this occurs, customers will be redirected to available parking facilities.

Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 parking garages: Both garages offer long-term parking at a rate of up to $16 per day. Valet parking is up to $23 per day.

Economy parking: McCarran offers terminal specific economy parking at a rate of $10 per day.

The Terminal 1 economy lot is off of Kitty Hawk Way, just south of Tropicana Avenue and west of Paradise Road. Shuttles run continuously between the economy lot and Terminal 1. Drivers using this lot should add at least 30 additional minutes for travel to or from the airport. This shuttle does not deliver passengers to Terminal 3.

The Terminal 3 economy lot is in the surface lot just east of the Terminal 3 parking garage, within walking distance of the Level 1 pedestrian bridge leading into the terminal. When approaching the Terminal 3 parking garage, drivers can follow the posted directional signs to economy parking to take advantage of the lower rate.

Courtesy shuttle service: McCarran offers a courtesy shuttle to transport travelers between Terminal 1 and Terminal 3. This service is on Level Zero of both terminals and runs at regular intervals.

Picking up travelers at McCarran: Las Vegas residents picking up friends or family at McCarran can use the cellphone lot off Kitty Hawk Way. The lot is open from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
5 Las Vegas chefs to watch - VIDEO
If you want to know what’s next for dining in Las Vegas, we suggest paying close attention to these five accomplished chefs. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Slanted Door in The Forum Shops at Caesars - VIDEO
The Slanted Door, Charles Phan's James Beard Award-winning modern Vietnamese restaurant, will open a Las Vegas location on March 2. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas REview-Journal)
Buddy V opens PizzaCake at Harrah’s - VIDEO
Buddy Valastro, aka Cake Boss Buddy V, is in town this week overseeing the soft opening of his new restaurant, PizzaCake, in Harrah’s Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making mist-shrouded tuna poke at Marssa at the Westin Lake Las Vegas - VIDEO
E.J. Estrella, banquet chef at Marssa at the Westin Lake Las Vegas, makes tuna poke by mixing chunks of bigeye tuna with sliced green onions, julienned white onions and house-made poke sauce and serving it on a bed of seaweed salad garnished with lotus chips and suspended over melon-scented mist. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making baked goat cheese at Ri Ra in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Shea Wafford, sous chef and pastry chef at Ri Ra at The Shoppes at Mandalay Place in Las Vegas, makes baked goat cheese served with honey-nut pesto, pickled red onions, peppadew relish and sourdough baguette. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bruce Kalman cooking at Ada’s - VIDEO
Celebrity chef Bruce Kalman will be cooking at Ada's in Tivoli Village in Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making banana cream pie at Cut in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Nicole Earl, pastry chef at Cut at the Palazzo in Las Vegas, makes an updated banana cream pie by layering banana ice cream, custard and compote with house-made Cool Whip, vanilla wafers and 24-karat gold leaf in a milk chocolate sphere and drizzling it with warm banana-caramel sauce so it devolves into petals. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making Chile Colorado at Kitchen Table and Kitchen Table Squared in Las Vegas
Javier Chavez, chef/owner of Kitchen Table and Kitchen Table Squared in Las Vegas, makes Chile Colorado by braising pork belly with three kinds of peppers and serving it atop stewed black beans with crema and pickled jalapeño, carrots and onions, with flour tortillas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Black Tap introduces its vegan CrazyShake - VIDEO
Black Tap at The Venetian on the Las Vegas Strip has a new CrazyShake that's vegan -- The Black ’N White CakeShake. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Guy Fieri reflects on the Las Vegas dining scene
Celebrity chef Guy Fieri talks about the Las Vegas food scene while in town celebrating his 52nd birthday. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Familiar faces among Circa culinary lineup
Derek Stevens and chefs Barry Dakake and Dan Coughlin talk about some of the new restaurants for Stevens' Circa resort project. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making the Ausser Rand und Band (Over the Top) bloody mary at the Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas
The Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas serves the Ausser Rand und Band bloody mary with Hofbrau Dunkel, vodka, bloody mary mix, a Tajin rim and a soft pretzel, slider, bacon, sausage and more. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Custom Pizza Truck is a 'kitchen on wheels' - VIDEO
Custom Pizza Truck serves pizzas in a one of a kind food truck that traveled to Poland and back. (Elizabeth Page Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @elipagephoto
Squidhat Records comes to an end - VIDEO
Founder Allan Carter explains decision to shutter the Las Vegas label. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kaiseki Yuzu relocates to Chinatown - VIDEO
Kaiseki Yuzu restaurant celebrated its move from Henderson to Chinatown at 3900 Spring Mountain Road on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Panic! at the Disco frontman opens studio for kids - VIDEO
Panic! at the Disco frontman Brendon Urie launches Notes for Notes at a Henderson Boys & Girls Club. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A sneak peek at the new Mas Por Favor in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Mas Por Favor in Las Vegas’ Chinatown is an Instagram dream come true with original art, an arch of skulls and one of roses. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegan menu unveiled on Las Vegas Strip - VIDEO
Truth & Tonic, one of the two dining spots within The Venetian’s Canyon Ranch Spa + Fitness, rolled out its new plant-based menu on Friday. Executive chef Pete Ghione talks about the menu. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making lobster and avocado flatbread at Vanderpump Cocktail Garden in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Josh Grimes, chef de cuisine at Vanderpump Cocktail Garden at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, created a lobster and avocado flatbread that also has avocado-creme fraiche spread, yellow tomatoes, red onion and Hearts On Fire microgreens. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Riding the new 15-minute "Star Wars" ride at Disneyland
What it's like to ride the new 15-minute "Star Wars" ride At Disneyland (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Main St. Provisions is coming to the Arts District - VIDEO
Kim Owens talks about her new Arts District restaurant, Main Street Provisions, which is under construction. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Artist Wayne Littlejohn on “Spin Baby” - VIDEO
Wayne Littlejohn’s sculpture celebrates Las Vegas entertainers. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tiësto headlines CES 2020 closing party at Hakkasan Nightclub - VIDEO
Tiesto performs for CES conventioneers and clubgoers during the DreamlandXR Closing Night Party at Hakkasan Nightclub at the MGM Grand on the Las Vegas Strip in the early hours of Friday, Jan. 10, 2020. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Locals cheer on James Holzhauer at 'Jeopardy!' watch party - VIDEO
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But James Holzhauer would have a better chance at winning “Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time” tournament if Ken Jennings would stop copying his aggressive betting strategy. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Drake's first show of 2020 at XS Nightclub in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Drake performs at the indoor/outdoor XS and Encore Beach Club at Wynn Las Vegas on the Las Vegas Strip in the early morning hours of Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Ceremony held for Elvis artist Trent Carlini - VIDEO
A ceremony was held for Elvis impersonator Trent Carlini on Wednesday night at The Space in Las Vegas. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020: Small appliances unveiled in Las Vegas - VIDEO
The small appliances on show at Sands Expo at CES 2020 in Las Vegas include a Keurig cocktail maker, autonomous cooking system, nitrogen coffee ampules and more. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020: Impossible Foods debuts Impossible Pork in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Before a packed press conference at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Impossible Foods executives introduced Impossible Pork, its newest product. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lady Gaga joins her band leader at his after-hours show - VIDEO
After finishing her “Jazz + Piano” show at Park Theater, Lady Gaga joined her band leader Brian Newman for a rousing version of "Fly Me to the Moon" during his show at NoMad Restaurant at Park MGM on the Las Vegas Strip after midnight on New Year's Day, 2020. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Brian Newman rings in 2020 at NoMad at Park MGM - VIDEO
Brian Newman, bandleader for Lady Gaga, performs at NoMad Restaurant at Park MGM on the Las Vegas Strip on New Year's Eve 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
THE LATEST
US increasing coronavirus screenings among travelers

U.S. health officials are expanding their checks of international travelers for signs of a worrisome new virus from China, even as they say the risk to Americans so far is very low.

Visit US national parks for free in 2020

To encourage travelers to visit new places, the National Park Service will waive fees for five days in 2020.