Tom Urban

Tom Urban is the Assignment Manager for The News Service of Florida.

Carl Juste / Miami Herald

A record 6.1 million Floridians plan to travel more than 50 miles during the holidays this year.

The Christmas travel period began Saturday and runs through New Year’s Day.

Five and a half million Floridians will be driving, an increase of 200,000 from last year.

Air travel is also expected to be up nearly 5 percent.

It will cost more to get to your destination this year, with gas prices up about 20 cents per gallon from 2018 and car rental rates at their highest levels in a decade.

Still, travelers won’t be discouraged.

Laws will take effect next week that will add benefits for first responders who suffer post-traumatic stress disorder and impose harsher penalties on people who abuse animals, along with 19 other measures signed by Gov. Rick Scott after the 2018 legislative session.