Thanksgiving Travel Tips: How to Navigate the Busiest Travel Season of the Year

By Barbara Danza, Epoch Times
November 7, 2016 1:46 pm Last Updated: November 7, 2016 2:40 pm

Whether you and your family are hitting the road or flying high this Thanksgiving, you surely won’t be alone in your endeavor.

Travel industry group Airlines for America predicts that 27.3 million passengers will travel globally on U.S. airlines this Thanksgiving season, up 2.5 percent from last year. The heaviest travel days are expected to be: Sunday, Nov. 27; Monday, Nov. 28; and Wednesday, Nov. 23, in that order according to the report.

Meanwhile, down on the ground, millions more will be hitting the road for Grandma’s house (or wherever they may be headed this year.) This year U.S. roads will carry an estimated 42 million passengers, according to AAA

With such a huge volume in traffic, delays are to be expected. Traveling families can combat potential points of frustration with the proper planning and adjustment of expectations.

Prepare Early

Whether considering when to book a flight, when to start packing, when to load up the car, when to map out your route, give yourself a ton of extra time by diving in as early as possible.

Consider Traveling at Odd Times

Thanksgiving Day sees dramatically less air passengers than the day before. Is an early morning flight an option for you? It may be something to consider.

Traveling through the night can also be an interesting idea for families journeying by car. If you’ve got a distance to cover, sleep during the day and pack up the family for a nighttime ride. Allow the kids to snuggle in with their blankets and pillows and enjoy less crowded roadways.

Communicate Expectations Positively

Helping your family mentally prepare for your Thanksgiving trip may be the most important step of all. Frame your journey as an exciting adventure.

Ensure that your children understand that there are likely to be great crowds wherever your headed, all in celebration of Thanksgiving! It’s rather joyful to think of it in those terms.

Go over your safety plan should anyone get lost and tell them that the journey will likely take a long time. Show them that they can look forward to time to read their favorite books, or play their favorite travel game, or do arts and crafts. (Don’t forget to pack what they’ll need for those activities, of course.)

Pack Your Patience

Things can go awry when tens of millions of people do something all at once. Cancellations, weather delays, general congestion, accidents, lost items, forgotten items, messes, crying children, loud noises, and so on, you may run into any number of unpleasant things along your travels.

Remembering that you have little to no control over external circumstances, however, can go a long way toward making sure your journey is a pleasant one. 

As long as your family is together, it’s an adventure. Maintain a positive attitude both for your sanity and for the great example that it sets for your children.

Whether you’re venturing over the river or through the wood, a little preparation and a lot of patience will go a long way toward ensuring a Happy Thanksgiving for your family. Happy travels!