When you combine food, family, and football, it’s easy to see why Thanksgiving is among the most enjoyable national holidays on the calendar. Celebrated on the last Thursday of November, it’s the annual occasion where loved ones come together to give thanks for what they have.
And if this year’s Thanksgiving is anything like years before, it guarantees to be a hectic period for traveling.
Nearly 60 million Americans in 2016 went by car or plane to partake in the annual “feastival,” 90% of whom traveled 50 miles or more. That’s the most since 2007, The Los Angeles Times pointed out.
In fact, year in and year out, Thanksgiving is routinely among the top five holidays for traffic, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, most of which is by car. With gas prices substantially lower this year versus last, based on GasBuddy’s statistics, you can be thankful that filling up your gas tank will be cheaper this year.
While you may not be able to teleport yourself to your Thanksgiving gathering place, there are several things you can do to ensure that the trip is as pleasant as possible.
To help plan out your turkey trot, here’s what to keep in mind:
Beat the traffic blitz
As the old adage goes, the early bird catches the worm, and this certainly holds true during the Thanksgiving traffic rush. Most people who travel by car do so on Wednesday, with peak times occurring between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., according to Christine Sarkis, senior editor at SmarterTravel.com. Try to leave in the early morning hours. This should help you avoid any major traffic jams or delays caused by heavy congestion.
Fill up the tank before you leave
On Tuesday, gas up the tank when you get home from work so that you know you’ll have plenty to run on once you leave. Filling up the tank can take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how busy a gas station is. Avoid the lines by filling up early.
Your car isn’t the only one that needs fuel – so will you and your family, especially if you’ve got a long haul ahead of you. Be sure to pack some snacks that are satisfying and will fill you up, like high-fiber packaged goods, trail mix, water, and fruit.
Download traffic app
The roads may seem busier than ever, but you can more effectively navigate them today than ever before thanks to traffic applications that you can download to your wireless device. Google Maps and Waze are two of the more popular types.
With these tips as your guide, the annual ride can go as smooth as a tasty glass of holiday nog – something else to be thankful for.