Anticipating busy holiday traffic this weekend

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - Friday is the busiest travel day before Christmas. Whether you're traveling by plane, train, or automobile, you'll have a lot of company.

Officials ask that travelers arrive early, prepare for big crowds, and pack your patience if you are flying.

AAA expects record-breaking holiday travel during the extended Christmas travel period.

"Most people say it’s because the economic conditions being much improved today versus what it has been in recent years,” said Mike Right, AAA Vice President /Public Affairs. “We have seen an increase in consumer confidence.”

According to its annual survey, AAA says 103 million Americans plan to travel by roadway airway or railway. While most will drive, air travel is expected to increase 2.5 percent with more than 6 million Americans flying.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol urges motorists to make safety their top priority.

"We don’t want this year to be a time you remember as a tragedy because you were in a big hurry and made a mistake," said Cpl. Justin Wheetley, Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Some travelers said the holidays should be a time for celebration and enjoying family and friends.