WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) — Thousands of South Floridians who plan to travel this week to visit friends and family over the Thanksgiving holiday are taking the latest warning in stride.
On Monday, U.S. State Department warned all U.S. citizens to exercise caution during the holiday season due to increased terrorist threats.
“It’s a scary thing. You just honestly don’t know what’s gonna happen,” said traveler Trishton Carroll.
Current information suggests that ISIL, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and other terrorist groups are planning attacks in multiple regions. These attacks may use conventional and non-conventional weapons and target both official and private interests.
In the past year, there have been multiple attacks in France, Nigeria, Denmark, Turkey and Mali. ISIL has claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt.
The Travel Alert expires on February 24, 2016.
Officials say while there is no credible threat to the U.S., security will be beefed up at airports nationwide including Miami International and Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International.
“We work with our federal partners. We make sure everyone that comes through here is not a threat to the U.S.,” said MIA Director Emilio Gonzalez.
Some passengers told CBS4 they weren’t about to let the warning stop them from seeing family over the holidays.
“I put that in the hands of the people who work here and I trust them,” said one man at Miami International.
“Traveling does concern me a bit, but so far we have not had any bad luck,” said a woman at the airport.
A CBS News poll found 69-percent of Americans believe a terror attacks is likely – the highest percentage since May 2011. Fourteen percent said terror is the most important problem facing the county, compared to two percent who said the same thing just two weeks ago.
Reporters from The New York Times found that Miami is the number one Thanksgiving destination among potential travelers. When reporters crunched some numbers they discovered that the city with the biggest increase this year in potential flight bookings is Miami. In second place is Orlando. The most apparent reason is the weather.
Graham Marcus and his family left behind chilly Rochester New York for our sunshine.
“Looking forward to spending time with family and friends and getting in the warm weather,” Marcus told CBS 4 News.
As for those hitting the road, Florida streets will be busy too. This is expected to be the busiest Thanksgiving travel season in eight years and with gas prices, the lowest they’ve been for a while, drivers are anxious to get behind the wheel.
“I’m like, Whoa cheap prices for travel,” said driver Carmen Hilburn.
“Great holiday present! I will be able to get more holiday presents because of it,” said driver Melissa Thomas while laughing.
The Florida Department of transportation is expecting more than 2 million people will drive on Florida highways. They suggest using the 511 app to check for traffic trouble and to plan travel at off-peak times.
“If you’re heading out in the next couple of days or when you’re coming back over the weekend, the late afternoon, early evening are the worst times, that’s when the roads get really busy,” said Mike Wacht with 511.
For those of us who are staying home, be patient and expect to share the road with a lot of tourists, especially since South Florida is named as a Thanksgiving hot spot.
“People are going to be coming here. People from out of town don’t know the travel patterns. They’re going to disrupt travel. Things are going to be different,” said Wacht.