By Karli Barnett

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – People are hopping on planes or hitting the roads today on the first day of the busy Thanksgiving holiday travel period.

The American Automobile Association said this Thanksgiving will be the busiest travel-wise in the last 12 years.

Between today and Sunday, they estimate more than 54 million Americans will travel 50 or more miles from home. That’s more than a five percent increase over last year.

AAA predicts this year will be the highest volume of Thanksgiving travelers since 2005.

Many travelers at the Miami International Airport were looking to get an early start.

“I figured it would be crazy today, so get here early and get it all done,” says Eric Andrae, who is traveling with his family to Costa Rica.

People began filtering in around 5 a.m. in an effort to beat the big crowds.

Massiel Odom-Montbrun was traveling with her daughter to Texas. She says they woke up at 4 a.m.

“I actually haven’t slept since I woke up yesterday, so I’ve been up for nearly 24 hours,” laughs Blas Brown. However, he wanted to be sure he and his mother got to the airport before the sun was up.

Aaron Miller who was with his wife and two small children say it was worth it to beat the major rush.

“Oh my gosh, there’s no line!” he says as he passes the American Airlines check-in.

AAA says Wednesday through Sunday, more than 54 million Americans will travel 50 or more miles from home, which is a five percent increase from last year.

“It’s been 10 years we go this week to celebrate my husband’s birthday and Thanksgiving.” For the Golod family it’s tradition.

The Bavaro family says they are opting for a little less traditional with Thanksgiving at a resort in Mexico.

Foot traffic began to build. Around 7:00 Wednesday morning, long lines formed at security checkpoints. Even still, lines moved relatively quickly.

By 11 a.m., conditions were pretty quiet.

Miami international airport expects 130,000 people a day on their peak days of Wednesday and Sunday.

The early risers were glad to be well on their way to their destination.

“Check in was a breeze so we beat the rush,” says Brian Bavaro.

Greg Chinn, MIA Communications Director, says they will bring in K-9 units starting at 2:00 in the afternoon to keep people moving efficiently through security during their main travel times.

Karli Barnett

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