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Travelers hit the road, pack airports ahead of Thanksgiving Day

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ORLANDO, Fla. - Before Wednesday is over, more than 100,000 passengers are expected to fly in or out of Orlando International Airport.

Thanksgiving Eve is the busiest travel day of the year, as millions of people hit the roads and board flights, according to travel officials.

Lines were long at Orlando International Airport Wednesday morning, but travelers have been surprised at how quickly they have been able to coast through security.

The airport has been extremely busy, but WFTV has learned that there has been plenty of staff helping to move the lines along quickly.

Holiday traveler Howard Zobrist was pleasantly surprised by the lack of waiting at OIA, but expects connecting airports to be more crowded.

"Well, I expected to find a lot of Thanksgiving travelers, which I have experienced.  We're headed for Sydney, Australia, through Detroit, Michigan and Los Angeles."

More than 39 million people are expected to drive to their holiday destinations this year. The Florida Highway Patrol said it will be monitoring traffic electronically, with 500 cameras, from rooms at the Florida Department of Transportation's headquarters in Orlando.

The biggest focus, FHP said, is Interstate 4 through Orlando and I-95 through Volusia and Brevard counties. Troopers said those roadways are known for holiday crashes.

"It's really not efficient for us to station someone in a specific area, because sometimes that can cause a visual distraction," said Kim Montes of the Florida Highway Patrol.

At Orlando International Airport, along with airports across the country, officials recommend that travelers arrive early and check their flight status. 

Travelers are being advised that even if they experience shorter wait times in Orlando, they may still find delays at their next stops. Travelers should keep in touch with airlines and flight times to stay updated.

AAA predicts more than 3 million people will pack airports this weekend, but said the number is down just slightly from last year.