Stateliners packed inside the Van Galder bus station on Friday, only a matter of hours from getting to their holiday destinations.
For some, last minute traveling is the perfect vacation, even if just for a day.
“We actually planned it, just so that we can get there today and come back tomorrow for Christmas Eve,” said holiday traveler Chad Peña.
“It’s kind of like our little Christmas present to each other instead of presents,” said Alyssa Martin.
“[It’s a] chance to see cousins, sister, brother, mom, dad and friends,” said holiday traveler Patrick Gallaher.
And they won’t be alone.
Of the 103 million Americans traveling this holiday weekend. AAA reports that 5.3 million of those will be from Illinois. Nearly 300,000 will be flying, a 21.4 % increase over 2015.
“I enjoyed it until last night when I got a little bit overwhelmed,” said Peña.
“But it keeps it exciting I suppose,” said Martin.
And no matter the destination, all are excited to start their holiday celebrations.
“My brother-in-law is a musician here in Rockford and I’m here to try to catch up with him so he can teach me how to play my new bass guitar,” said holiday traveler Patrick Dayries. “I call her Lucille.”
Gallaher agrees that it’s worth the headaches in the end.
“[It’s] 100 percent worth it,” said Gallaher. “It would’ve been nice to have a couple extra days, but this is fine, to get, last minute, out there.”
Based on AAA bookings, Las Vegas, Orlando, New York CIty, San Diego and Anaheim, CA are the top five travel destinations this holiday season.