The Best Times to Travel This Thanksgiving to Avoid Delays

YELLOWSTONE, WY - AUGUST 22: Visitors come and go at the south entrance of Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming on August 22, 2018. Yellowstone is one of the most visited national parks in the United States. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
The Buzludzha Monument was built toward the end of the Cold War by the Bulgarian communist regime, who hoped it would serve as a prominent and official headquarters for the Bulgarian Communist Party. The UFO-esque building was the site of many state functions, with Lenin and Marx posters and a red-star ceiling setting the ambiance. Though the monument was abandoned and closed to the public in 1989, sneaky explorers continue to venture in to gaze at the otherworldly dome.
Slide 1 of 11: So much planning goes into the holiday season, that it's easy to get caught up in everything else, hop in the car and immediately want to pull your hair out. Cut out the frustration and make sure to plan ahead!
Slide 2 of 11: Planning travel is always important, but holiday travel raises the stakes. Think of everything. When in doubt, ask a trusted travel agent.
Slide 3 of 11: Most Americans don't use their vacation days. Pro tip: Be one of the Americans that does. The Sunday before Thanksgiving is a fantastic time to travel both for your stress level and your pocketbook.
Slide 4 of 11: Maybe you can't take a ton of vacation days, but how about just one? The Monday after Thanksgiving is often a throwaway day in terms of productivity anyway. Pushing your return date just one day can make all the difference.
Slide 5 of 11: If you have to get back for work on Monday, leave on Sunday after 9 p.m.
Slide 6 of 11: If mom or grandma demands you're there on Thursday morning for the parade and to help get the turkey started, understand that traffic (on the road or in the airport) will become unbearable from late morning on Wednesday from all the other schmucks "leaving early." Before 6 am is your best choice.
Slide 7 of 11: If you're going to travel on Thanksgiving itself, the same rule applies. Leave before 6 am. If you have to get home, take the red eye or hit the road after dark. Just, make sure you have everything you need because things may not be open.
Slide 8 of 11: Black Friday isn't the best travel day, but hitting the road rather than hitting the sales is better than trying to get back over the post-Thanksgiving weekend where airports will be packed and roads won't be much better.
Slide 9 of 11: Leaving really early or really late is one thing, but if you really need to travel stress free, travel over night any day you please! Bonus points if you're traveling with young children and do this. It will make your life easier if you can hack it.
Slide 10 of 11: If crowds bum you out, just leave! Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday, and the crowds aren't going to be any worse than normal if you find yourself overseas. Plus, many airlines have awesome international travel deals while everyone else is headed home for the holiday.
Slide 11 of 11: No matter where you decide to travel, give yourself as much extra time as you can. It will take away a lot of the stress. More importantly, you'll travel safer and stay in the holiday spirit!

Plan Your Pilgrimage

So much planning goes into the holiday season, that it’s easy to get caught up in everything else, hop in the car and immediately want to pull your hair out. Cut out the frustration and make sure to plan ahead!

No, Really, Plan Everything

Planning travel is always important, but holiday travel raises the stakes. Think of everything. When in doubt, ask a trusted travel agent.

Leave Really Early

Most Americans don’t use their vacation days. Pro tip: Be one of the Americans that does. The Sunday before Thanksgiving is a fantastic time to travel both for your stress level and your pocketbook.

Or…Return Really Late

Maybe you can’t take a ton of vacation days, but how about just one? The Monday after Thanksgiving is often a throwaway day in terms of productivity anyway. Pushing your return date just one day can make all the difference.

LATE Sunday Night

If you have to get back for work on Monday, leave on Sunday after 9 p.m.

The Day Before: Before 6am

If mom or grandma demands you’re there on Thursday morning for the parade and to help get the turkey started, understand that traffic (on the road or in the airport) will become unbearable from late morning on Wednesday from all the other schmucks “leaving early.” Before 6 am is your best choice.

Thanksgiving Day: Before 6am/After 9pm

If you’re going to travel on Thanksgiving itself, the same rule applies. Leave before 6 am. If you have to get home, take the red eye or hit the road after dark. Just, make sure you have everything you need because things may not be open.

Black Friday

Black Friday isn’t the best travel day, but hitting the road rather than hitting the sales is better than trying to get back over the post-Thanksgiving weekend where airports will be packed and roads won’t be much better.

Overnight!

Leaving really early or really late is one thing, but if you really need to travel stress free, travel over night any day you please! Bonus points if you’re traveling with young children and do this. It will make your life easier if you can hack it.

Anytime…Internationally

If crowds bum you out, just leave! Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday, and the crowds aren’t going to be any worse than normal if you find yourself overseas. Plus, many airlines have awesome international travel deals while everyone else is headed home for the holiday.

Give Yourself Extra Time

No matter where you decide to travel, give yourself as much extra time as you can. It will take away a lot of the stress. More importantly, you’ll travel safer and stay in the holiday spirit!

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