How to Survive Traveling this Thanksgiving
Plane, train or automobile it’s going to be crowded getting to grandma’s house this Thanksgiving
It’s the time of the year where we all gather around the hearth and the dining room table to get together with friends and family, which often involves packing your bags and yourself into a car, plane or train.
This coming Wednesday, when the Thanksgiving holiday weekend kicks off, 46.3 million people will travel home (more than 50 miles from their own home) to sit around the family table for turkey, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and other holiday favorites. This is the largest migration home for the holidays since 2007 and a 4.6% increase from 2013, according to AAA.
Gas prices are at an amazing low this Thanksgiving, the lowest they’ve been in five years! On Thursday, the national average for a gallon of regular gas was $2.85. That’s 43 cents lower than last year’s average price per gallon at this time of the year, which was $3.28.
What does that mean? Like Girls That Roam, who will be zipping around the San Francisco Bay Area making cheerful stops at friends houses, more holiday travelers will be hitting the highways, like 41.3 million. That’s more than 89% of holiday travelers and a 4.3% increase over last year.
Airfare hikes aren’t slowing people down heading to the airport this Thanksgiving, expect it to be crowded too. Like the highways, airports are catching the traveling high with 3.55 million people flying to their destinations, up 3% from 2013, AAA says.
The busiest airports in the U.S. are: Chicago O’Hare International, Los Angeles International, Denver International, San Francisco International, Atlanta Hartsfield International, Boston Logan International, both of New York’s airports John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia, Newark Liberty International and Seattle Tacoma International, according to Orbitz.
It’s all a sign that the recovery from the economic crisis is finally in full swing.
“Americans are more optimistic about the future as improvements in several key economic factors, including employment, GDP and disposable income, are boosting consumer confidence and the desire to travel,” says AAA president and chief operating officer Marshall Doney.
Blizzards have been blanketing the better part of the upper Midwest to the East Coast making it a white holiday season, as pretty as it might be, flights might be delayed if not grounded.
It’s going to be a journey, but maybe one where you might make some new friends or if you are single, accidentally meet that special someone commiserating about being crammed like sardines in the airplane for that journey to mom and dad’s or grandma and grandpa’s house.
Hitting the high road, turn up the radio and enjoy the ride because it’s going to take 25% longer to get to where you are going this Thanksgiving, according to smarty pants over at the annual Thanksgiving Travel Forecast from INRIX, a traffic congestion tracking firm based in Kirkland, Washington.
To keep your spirits jolly and your journey’s safe Girls That Roam got together with some of our expert friends to compare notes on how to do more than survive, but to jingle all the way home and back.
- Get to the airport early, 2 hours for domestic flights and four hours for international flights. Security lines are going to be long, some experts estimating up to 90 minutes long (are you kidding me?). (It’s too late to sign up for Pre Check for Thanksgiving, but there is still time for Christmas.)
- Carry a printed boarding pass, as backup to your smartphone or tablet.
- Pack light and carry-on, if possible, be prepared to check if necessary.
- When checking:
- Don’t wrap gifts. Be as transparent as possible.
- Use a TSA-approved lock.
- Put your destination and contact information inside your bag on top of your clothes.
- Thanksgiving rush hour is expected to begin about two hours earlier than on a typical Wednesday. Open happy hour early (with your designated Betty) or get some Christmas shopping done between 2 – 5 p.m. to gleefully bypass the worst of the traffic mess. (While others have a cloud hanging over them you will be whistling happy holiday tunes and ready to eat.)
- Make sure all is good with your car or rental car: Break and oil fluid, Tire pressure, Windshield wipers, etc.
- Have all addressed programmed into smartphone or GPS device.
- Be an alert defensive driver.
- If you drink have a designated driver.
Insurance and other safety tips:
- Check your travel insurance coverage on your insurance and credit cards, which might cover you if you get delayed, experience trip interruptions, accidents, and more. Fill in your coverage with select travel insurance plans.
- Know your neighboring airports at your departure and destination, so your travel agent or insurance provider can help you smoothing navigate unforeseen closures or departure issues.
- Note locations for airport security checkpoints, baggage claim and ticket counters
- Stay connected via social media for your airlines and airports to get current news updates.
- Have PDF copies of your current IDs saved in your computer or mobile device.
- Have PDF copies of your insurance policies in your computer or mobile device.
- Put all travel information (i.e. customer service phone numbers for airline, car rental, insurance, etc., travel agent’s mobile number, and related websites) in your cell phone.
- Bring an all-in-one portable charger for phones, laptops, tablets and other devices.
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