The Thanksgiving holiday is right around the corner, you can practically smell the pumpkin pie in the air. For millions of Americans, turkey day means travel planning as their family and loved ones live in another state. In fact, American Automobile Association (AAA) says 4.7 million people are expected to fly over Thanksgiving. That’s 6.6% more people than last year and the highest number of Thanksgiving air travelers since 2005.
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Millions will travel for Thanksgiving meal by car
But driving is still the preferred method to get to family and loved ones for an unforgettable meal. AAA predicts about 55.4 million travelers will head 50 miles or more from home over the Thanksgiving holidays. 88.7% of travelers plan to do so by car.
Best and worst times to drive
AAA used transportation data and insights to find useful information about the best and worst times to travel; by car and flight. Wednesday, November 22 will be the busiest day on the road, so if you’re driving to spend time with loved ones make sure to prepare accordingly. That means early morning or after 6PM to avoid the worst of traffic, as average travel times are expected to go up by 80% in some metro areas. The worst time to drive is between 2PM and 6PM on that Wednesday.
Make sure your tires are properly inflated, your fluid is topped off, and your battery is in good shape
If you’re traveling by car, you also want to know the best time to drive back home. Friday, November 24th will be the busiest. But if you still want to travel back home on Black Friday, the best time is to be on the road before 11AM or after 7PM. If you’re staying through the weekend before traveling back home, drive back on Sunday November 26 before noon. The worst time to travel back will be between 4PM and 8PM.
Best and worst times to fly the friendly skies
If family and loved ones live further away, and you choose to brave the friendly skies know that the busiest day at airports nationwide will be Tuesday November 21 and Wednesday the 22nd. In other words, right before the Thanksgiving holiday. Obviously high demand ushers in higher prices, so airfare is most expensive on these two days.
Save time and make flying more convenient by reserving airport parking ahead of time or use a rideshare service so you don’t have to drive there yourself
If you must fly on Thanksgiving Day, do so early morning as airports are a little more empty. The best return dates by flight are Friday November 24, November 27 or November 28. Try not to fly on Sunday as it’s the busiest travel day of the weekend.
Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!