If you’re planning on traveling for Thanksgiving, you might want to allot some extra time to make it to your destination before the turkey and pumpkin pie. According to AAA, 46.3 million Americans are expected to journey 50 miles or more this year, the highest volume the season has seen since 2007. And of those millions of holiday travelers, more than 89% will be driving to their destinations. (That’s roughly 41.2 million people!)
“Holiday joy has come early this year with Americans likely to pay the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2009,” said Marshall L. Doney, AAA chief operating officer.
While the flourishing economy and lower gas prices are certainly something to be thankful for, the prospect of sharing the commute with millions of people doesn’t exactly leave me feeling jolly. So if you’re like me and going to be traveling to see loved ones over the holidays, we’ve got some tips to help you maintain your sanity (and your productivity!).
- Avoid high-traffic days – According to Google, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving will be the worst day to travel this year, with Saturday being the worst day to return. If you already know you’re going to be sharing the commute with millions of others on those days, try to give yourself at least an hour of extra time so you don’t feel rushed. And whatever you do, avoid the hours between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Wednesday (the worst window for traffic over Thanksgiving).
- Leave the last-minute prep in the past – Are you on the hook for a side dish or a delicious libation to contribute to the family feast? Well, you might want to save yourself a last-minute migraine and get all your shopping out of the way before the holiday rush begins on Wednesday. Reports show that the top trending searches on Google the day before Thanksgiving are “pie shop,” “liquor store” and “ham shop.” (Also, if anyone knows what a ham shop is, I’m still curious.)
- Prep more than just morsels – If you know you’re going to be working over the holidays, you’ll be more than thankful if you prepare a list of what you know you’re going to need. Passwords, phone numbers, power chords and mobile apps are all necessary when trying to stay productive from the road. I like to map out what I will be working on so I have a better idea of what information and gadgets I’m going to need while in the field.
Whether you’re traveling by plane, train or automobile, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, everyone!