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Thanksgiving is all about enjoying delicious food as you catch up with the family you haven’t seen for months. Unfortunately, getting to this wonderful situation is hardly a fond memory. Traveling on Thanksgiving can be a nightmare. With everyone heading home to see their loved ones, the airports and roads are nothing short of a mess. While we can’t make the crowds disappear, we can give you some Thanksgiving travel tips to make the process of arriving at your destination as stress-free as possible.
Yes, you want to be with your family on the actual holiday, but do you really need to be there at the crack of dawn? If you are okay with showing up right before the turkey is served, you can save yourself a lot of hassle and money. So for our first Thanksgiving travel tip, we suggest arriving on Turkey Day itself. You can save as much as by traveling on Thanksgiving.
If that’s not your style, don’t worry; you can also avoid crowds and make a smaller dent in your wallet by departing on the Monday before Thanksgiving and heading home the Tuesday after. If large masses of people are your only concern, Friday is actually a decent travel day because the rest of the country is shopping. Just try to avoid the weekend at all costs, otherwise it will feel like you are at a zoo instead of the airport.
Our second Thanksgiving Travel Tips deal with one of the biggest hassles at the airport, which is checking bags. Not only is it a pain to have to sit around and wait for them once you land, nowadays you will also spend a ridiculous amount of money on baggage fees. Which makes our second Thanksgiving travel tip packing light. We recommend using carry-on luggage only. Of course, this means limited space and no large liquids. If you have gifts or large items (like a pack of diapers) to bring along, consider ordering them online and having them shipped directly to your destination. If you aren’t quite ready to minimalism your packing, check out these to avoid way-too-overpriced baggage fees.
We live in a day and age where we are lucky enough to have a plethora of information at our fingertips, so our third Thanksgiving travel tip is to use it. There are so many that make traveling easier that it would be a shame to put them to waste. Even just using the app for your airline gives you access to paperless tickets, mobile check-in, and often baggage tracking to put your mind at ease.
If you are opting to skip the airports altogether, that doesn’t mean traveling on Thanksgiving will be smooth sailing. Not only will you still have to deal with more traffic than usual, you might even have snowy and icy roads to contend with. For our fourth Thanksgiving travel tip, we suggest skipping peak travel days (the Wednesday prior and the weekend after), having a backup route prepared, and allowing plenty of time to arrive at your destination.
Traveling on Thanksgiving may not be ideal, but if you follow these Thanksgiving travel tips, your time on the go will be a lot more pleasant. And no matter what stress your travels cause, it will all be worth it when you hug your loved ones and splurge on some home cooking goodness.
As CEO and founder of Unicomm, LLC., John Golicz produces the largest and fastest growing travel trade show series in the United States– the Travel & Adventure Show Series. With nearly 30 years of travel experience, John is an expert on how to travel better, safer, smarter and cheaper.