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Around 36,000 people expected to pass through TSA Thursday and Friday as families hit the road for MEA Weekend

MEA Weekend is underway for thousands of Minnesota families, and for many, that means squeezing in one last vacation.

MINNEAPOLIS — With a long weekend stretching out for MEA, the time set aside every year for members of Education Minnesota's annual conference, many Minnesota families are hitting the road. 

For thousands of families, this October weekend is a time to get away for one last vacation, and that can mean a trip to the airport on the way to their final destination. 

This weekend can see as many travelers as Thanksgiving and Christmas at MSP, and at Terminal 1, they are prepared for the masses. 

Airport officials are planning for around 36,000 people to go through TSA checkpoints on Thursday, and another 36,000 on Friday. Staffing levels have been increased to handle the influx of passengers, especially in the ticketing areas to improve passenger flow and line management. 

But even with the extra hands on deck, airport officials still suggest arriving at least two hours before the takeoff of a domestic flight and three hours if you're headed out on an international flight. 

If parking at the airport is a concern, you can reserve a parking spot online, and save yourself $2 a day. 

Once you're parked and through security, the greatest selection of food and beverage options is now open. MSP said around 92% of concessions are now open, a big increase from your options during the pandemic. 

Since many people will be traveling with kids, MSP recommends checking out TSA's tips for traveling with children. You can find that list of travel tips here

Planning to hit the road instead of the skies this weekend? Unfortunately, gas prices are slowly rising and not expected to drop anytime soon. As of Thursday morning, AAA reports the average cost of a tank of gas in Minnesota is around $3.71. The national average is slightly higher, $3.83 a gallon. 

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If travel isn't in the cards for you and your family this weekend, we've gathered up a list of plenty of fun (and many free!) things to do in the Twin Cities. That list is available here

RELATED: How to spend your MEA weekend around the Twin Cities

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