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Hurricane Idalia's aftermath could slow Labor Day travelers

Allow extra time for travel delays and impacted roads, AAA says
Posted at 7:08 PM, Aug 31, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-31 19:19:46-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — According to AAA, Orlando and South Florida tend to be popular destinations for any holiday weekend. The thought is that if you combine that with the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia, travel may be a bit tougher this weekend.

"I would anticipate this weekend for the theme parks, the beaches, to be especially busy," AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said.

For those flying and driving this Labor Day weekend, travel to, from and through the state of Florida may come with its own challenges.

"I probably will check the weather and head down sooner," Alexis Manti, who is traveling this weekend, said. "I'm flying out of Fort Lauderdale, so my flight is super early. Maybe I will stay the night there and get some extra time."

Alexis Manti said she was flying to Michigan for the Labor Day weekend.
Alexis Manti said she was flying to Michigan for the Labor Day weekend.

"I figured we would go see Mickey Mouse," Devin Topher, who was hitting the road Thursday, said. "Maybe nobody will be there because of the hurricane."

Another woman, who was picking up her friend at Palm Beach International Airport, said their flight had a bit of a delay.

"They are half an hour late, but she got in OK from New York," Kim Bailey said.

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A quick look at Florida 511, the state's real-time traffic and travel site, showed some reports of debris on roads where Hurricane Idalia hit the state. Many college students may also travel home from campuses in places like Gainesville and Tallahassee.

"If you are hitting the roads for Labor Day weekend, you should certainly plan ahead," Jenkins said. "Leave early if you can and map out your trip and find alternate routes just in case there is a road closure that impacts your trip."

As for other advice, Jenkins said to monitor flights and get to the airport early. AAA also said to consider buying travel insurance, especially during storm season.

Devin Topher said he was headed to Orlando for the weekend.
Devin Topher said he was headed to Orlando for the weekend.

"That storm could not have come at a worse time when you consider all the people who were planning on traveling Labor Day weekend," he said. "You've got a lot of folks who are probably still waiting to catch a flight. You have others who are hoping the backlog of cancellations doesn't affect them."

The Florida Department of Transportation said they are actively working to clear roadways and restore services to areas impacted by Hurricane Idalia.