Thanksgiving is just a week away! If you’re planning to travel, you may have heard that this year’s Thanksgiving will be the busiest for air travel it’s ever been. Airlines for America (A4A) projects that over 30 million Americans will travel by air between Friday, November 16th and Tuesday, November 27th with the busiest day for air travel being the 25th.
Unfortunately, traveling by car is no better; AAA predicts that 2018’s traffic will be at its highest volume in more than ten years with 48.5 million Americans taking to the road for Thanksgiving. This will create congestion up to four times worse than normal for the most populated cities.
Regardless of how you’re reaching your destination, however, the best day to travel is Thanksgiving; this is when you’ll see the least amount of traffic, and the lowest air travel prices. It may not be ideal to spend the morning of a holiday traveling, but at least you’ll significantly lower your chances of being stuck in traffic or in long lines at the airport.
If you do have to travel on one of the busier days, however, you’ll want to take some precautions and prepare yourself for the crowds. Follow our Thanksgiving travel tips to minimize your stress and maximize your enjoyment of the holiday feast that’ll be waiting when you reach your destination!
If you’re traveling by plane:
- Plan to arrive at the airport about an hour earlier than you normally would. Large crowds mean longer waiting times and higher potential for missing your flight. Arriving earlier than usual will lower your stress levels and ensure that you get on your plane in time for takeoff.
- Give yourself extra time to drive to the airport. It’s a good idea to check the GPS on your phone before leaving to get an idea of the traffic and your estimated time of arrival. There’s nothing more frustrating than being stuck in traffic on your way to the airport, so the earlier you can head out the door, the better!
- Get SMS alerts sent to your phone with updates on your flight status. If your flight gets delayed, you’ll hopefully know before you leave for the airport.
- Manage your expectations. Patience is key when traveling during a major holiday, so it’s best to expect delays from the start. If your Thanksgiving travel plans include children, anticipate that they’ll feel frustrated and impatient. Bring games for them to play in case they get bored while in line or during a delay.
If you’re traveling by car:
- Be extra alert. Keep in mind that many drivers will be traveling with several family members in the car, so they are more likely to get distracted. There will also be a much higher volume of drivers than usual, many of which will be traveling for several hours at a time, so it is essential to be mindful of other drivers.
- Plan your route ahead of time. This may seem unnecessary as most smartphones have a GPS, but it’s a good idea to check your route before your trip to make sure you’re taking the best possible way. You certainly don’t want to sour your family road trip by getting lost!
- Bring an emergency kit. Early weather reports show that this Thanksgiving’s high will be about ten degrees above freezing. If you’re going on a long road trip, you won’t want to get stuck outside in the event of car troubles. Pack plenty of winter gear including coats, hats, gloves, scarves, boots, and anything else that strikes your fancy. It’s also a good idea to bring water, a battery jump starter, engine oil, and a spare tire. This may seem excessive, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!
- Anticipate long wait times. Prepare yourself and your passengers for the very real possibility of sitting in traffic for long periods of time, especially if you’re passing through a major city like Philadelphia. Encourage everyone to bring entertainment and phone chargers.
Thanksgiving travel can be tedious and frustrating, but it’ll all be worth it once you arrive safely at your destination and get to chow down on good food with good company. Regardless of your mode of transportation, we’d like to wish you a very safe and Happy Thanksgiving!
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