WATCH: Thursday was one of the busiest travel days of the year on Vancouver Island. Ceilidh Millar reports.
At Victoria International Airport, families were anxiously awaiting the return of their loved ones making the long journey home for the holidays on Thursday.
“We are waiting for the boys’ grandma,” said Courtenay White. “She’s coming in from Halifax to spend Christmas with them.”
“Moving can’t get in the way of Christmas,” explained John Jesseau who was waiting for his daughter. “Family needs to be together.”
The holiday travel rush hit airports across North America on Thursday from Vancouver to Florida.
Leading up to Christmas, YYJ will see up to 20 per cent more passengers during the busiest travel week of the year.
“It’s very busy,” explained James Bogusz with the Victoria Airport Authority. “Longer flights and a lot of activity here in the terminal.”
Last year, B.C. Ferries saw more than one million passengers from mid-December to January.
“The holiday season is upon us,” said Deborah Marshall with B.C. Ferries. “We’ve added 175 extra sailings on our major routes.”
However, this uncertain weather forecast has others dreaming of an unorthodox Christmas.
“We’re seeing some great last-minute deals which we haven’t seen in a few years” explained travel agent Arlene Heart with Maritime Travel at Uptown Mall.
Heart says there are great travel deals over Christmas to places like Cabo San Lucas.
“There are direct flights from Victoria. It was a great six-day trip, four-star property for under $1,200 per person.”
While long line-ups and delays are enough to turn even the best of travellers into a Grinch, it’s here where most are reminded of the true meaning of Christmas.
“This is the first time we’ve been apart,” said one woman about her son who returned home for the holidays. “He’s in Ottawa going to university. I’m very excited to have him home.”
Proof the greatest gift of the season is all around.