PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The countdown to the solar eclipse is on. While we will be able to see a partial eclipse here in Southern New England (weather permitting), the best views are hundreds of miles away. That’s leading to a mass migration to the path of totality.
AAA Northeast Director of Travel Administration Carl Richardson says, "First of all, the availability of hotel rooms, car rentals, airline flights into some of the cities where the eclipse is going to be most prominently seen are basically unavailable right now. So, certainly people are traveling into those destinations."
But, there are still ways to get there.
Richardson says, "If somebody still wants to go, fly into a neighboring city, make the drive, and within a few hours, you're in that total eclipse peak viewing area."
Francine Jackson is the Staff Astronomer at Ladd Observatory. She's going to Wyoming to see it, and she planned ahead.
Jackson says, "Two years ago, we actually made our hotel reservations. About a year ago, [we] locked in our flight. Several months ago, [we] got the car rental."
This will be her third total solar eclipse.
Jackson says, "My first one was up in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Then, in 1991, I went down to Oaxaca, Mexico to see what was the longest one of the century."
It's not just astronomers that are going. Nelia Costa is a Lead Member Service Counselor with AAA Northeast. She’s traveling to Nashville with her daughter to see their first solar eclipse.
Costa says, "I made the decision that I needed to be somewhere where I could see it."
She found out she’ll need to be flexible with her plans.
Costa says, "My vision of the perfect eclipse viewing spot was a nice open field, some trees, the two of us watching the eclipse. Not going to happen that way."
In fact, with so many people expected to be on the move, some counties in the path of totality have declared states of emergency to help them deal with crowds and safety concerns. Also, some school districts in the path of totality have canceled classes on the 21st.