If you’re one of the 43.6 million Americans projected to make a trip 50 miles or more this Thanksgiving, brace yourselves for one of the busiest travel periods of the year! But don’t be scared: As we prepare to give thanks with our friends and family next week, AAA offers several tips to help make your holiday travel as stress-free as possible.
If you're driving
Plan ahead. Use a travel planning tool like AAA’s TripTik Travel Planner for help identifying the best driving routes, rest stops, and shop the latest gas prices. Continuously monitor weather conditions along your route and be prepared with contingency plans. Doing your homework could save valuable time, fuel costs and improve travel safety.
Head out in a well-maintained vehicle. Make a list and check it twice. No, we’re not talking about Santa here. There are several things every driver can check before their trip to ensure safety on the road. Make sure your brakes, defroster, heater, exhaust system, wiper blades and lights work properly. Also check the level and condition of the antifreeze. Before you go, get a free 30-point pre-winter car checkup at AAA Car Care Plus and at AAA Approved Auto Repair locations.
Keep a full gas tank. It may become necessary to change routes, idle for long periods of time, travel slowly, or turn around in a storm. A full gas tank allows drivers to do these maneuvers without worrying about running out of fuel. AAA offers a number of tools to help you save money on gasoline and improve your gas mileage.
Carry an emergency kit and your AAA card.
If you're flying
Arrive early. Airports will be crowded and security steps may be intensified so allow additional time at your departure airport. For domestic flights, arrive at least two hours prior to your departure and arrive at least three hours early for international flights. Busier airports may require even earlier arrival times. Monitor weather conditions closely, and before leaving home, call your airline to confirm flights or visit their website for status updates. Also, save time with online check-in and print your boarding passes in advance.
Wrap on Arrival. Wrapped gifts are not prohibited by the Transportation Security Administration but they are sometimes subjected to stronger security screening and may need to be unwrapped and inspected. Save yourself the potential headache and wrap gifts after your arrival or ship them to your final destination ahead of time! For more security information, visit the TSA website.
Pack defensively. Flight delays are a fact of life for travelers. Come to the airport prepared for a delayed flight: bring portable entertainment such as books, music or video games. In addition, make sure you have prescriptions, credit cards, travel itinerary with flight numbers, driver’s license and/or passport, glasses, various electronics chargers and toiletries in a carry-on bag.
AAA in the news
AAA projects 43.6 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, an increase of 0.7 percent over the 43.3 million people who traveled last year. This increase marks the fourth consecutive year of growing holiday travelers since 2008 when Thanksgiving travel fell by 25 percent. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Nov. 21-25. Read more
What are your travel plans this Thanksgiving? Will you be sticking close to home, or are you planning a bigger trip? Tell us about it in the comments below.