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Gearing up for the holiday season: What you need to know

Almost 55 million people will travel for Thanksgiving. If you're not hitting the road yet, there's plenty to do in Hampton Roads to get you in the holiday spirit.

NORFOLK, Va. — It’s almost time to gather together and enjoy some turkey and pumpkin pie, so here's what you need to know before you hit the road.

According to AAA, almost 55 million people will travel at least 50 miles for the holiday. That’s the third-highest prediction since AAA started doing this forecast in 2000.

RELATED: AAA: Thanksgiving 2022 projected to be the third-busiest for travel since 2000

Since most of those people will drive, gas prices are top of mind.

While the national average has barely budged, there are now about 13 states with some stations selling gas below $3 a gallon.

As of November 14, the average price here in Hampton Roads has dropped slightly from a month ago and now sits at $3.49.

If you are planning to travel, the earlier or later you can hit the road, the better. The middle of the day will likely mean heavy traffic all week, according to AAA.

Before you pack your bags, health experts are still encouraging people to get their flu shots and COVID-19 boosters. Hospitals here in Hampton Roads are currently slammed with flu, COVID-19 and RSV patients.

RELATED: CHKD seeing surge in RSV, flu patients

"We’re preparing ourselves so that if come early December or January, we’re starting to see these patients after being gathered in large groups to have increased number of illnesses, that we're prepared to diagnose and treat it," said Dr. Patrick McHugh, chief medical officer for Velocity Urgent Care.

RELATED: Ahead of the holiday season, local doctor urges people to catch up on vaccines

If you’re not getting on the road yet, there are tons to do to get in the holiday spirit this weekend, if you like your Christmas music before your turkey.

The Norfolk Grand Illumination Parade is back after a two-year hiatus.

"We want to make sure we’ve got a lot of lights, a lot of glitter, a lot of spark, a lot of excitement," said Hugh Copeland, artistic director and founder of the Hurrah Players.

They've been busy creating Santa's sleigh.

RELATED: Annual Grand Illumination Parade returns to Norfolk with holiday magic

The bright lights and floats make their return Saturday at 7 p.m. It all kicks off at the corner of St. Paul’s Boulevard and East Main Street and continues for two miles.

If you’re looking for more Christmas lights to enjoy, head down to the Oceanfront in Virginia Beach. You can enjoy music, color-changing archways and a 40-foot-tall Christmas tree as you drive along in your car.

To top off your evening, you can also stop by the holiday cocktail pop-up shop at the Waterside District. You can enjoy the holiday-themed cocktails from now until the end of December.

RELATED: Cheers to that | 'Miracle on Waterside Drive: A Holiday Pop Up Bar' is coming to Norfolk

Don’t forget, Winterfest on the Wisconsin is bigger and brighter this year.

13News Now is a proud sponsor. You can board the ship to see the lights until January 1. New additions this year include the Mistletoe Marina, which is full of festively decorated sailboats with tasty treats and entertainment, and the "Elf Door Discovery" scavenger hunt.

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