Tips for Stress-Free Thanksgiving Travel

by Gabriel Martinez
Thanksgiving Travel Tips

Preparing a lavish Thanksgiving feast can be taxing, as portrayed in “The Bear,” Season two, Episode six. However, for guests, the challenge often lies in reaching the dinner table. With no dedicated hotline for travel woes, guests must navigate their own way.

This Thanksgiving, an estimated 55.4 million people are set to travel over 50 miles (80 kilometers) from home, slightly more than last year, as per AAA’s forecast.

To alleviate travel hardships, consider the following advice:

On the Road Early

Over 49 million people are expected to drive to their Thanksgiving gatherings. Peak traffic is predicted on Wednesday, the eve of the holiday, particularly between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., as reported by INRIX, a provider of transportation data.

Megan Jones, senior actuary at Arity, warns of the dangers of distracted driving during traffic jams. She notes that steady traffic flow reduces phone distractions. However, she also cautions against holiday-induced speeding, especially over the weekend following Thanksgiving, urging drivers to remain vigilant.

Smooth Travels with Kids

Traveling with children can introduce unique challenges like managing backseat quarrels and preventing carsickness. Dr. Mona Amin, a pediatrician and parenting coach, advises against skipping meals before the journey. An empty stomach can worsen carsickness symptoms. She suggests ensuring everyone is well-fed and hydrated, minimizing screen time, opening windows for fresh air, and encouraging horizon gazing.

Flying with Compassion

Around 4.7 million people are expected to fly, the highest figure since 2005, says AAA. Sheryl Skaggs, a sociology professor, emphasizes empathy in crowded airports and planes. She suggests patience with fellow travelers, including those who are not frequent flyers.

Skaggs, who studied nearly 1,000 cases of passenger misconduct, highlights alcohol as a major factor in disruptive behavior. She advises passengers to alert flight attendants of any concerns.

Navigating Emotional Landscapes

Thanksgiving travel can also be emotionally taxing, with complex family dynamics and disrupted routines, says Dr. Laura Erickson-Schroth of The Jed Foundation. To mitigate holiday anxiety, she recommends mental preparation and proactive planning for potential family conflicts, advocating for a premeditated approach to challenging interactions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Thanksgiving Travel Tips

What Are Some Tips for Driving to Thanksgiving Gatherings?

To avoid peak traffic, try to travel early. The busiest time is expected to be between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Stay alert to prevent distracted driving and be cautious of increased speeding during the holiday period.

How Can I Make Traveling with Children Easier During Thanksgiving?

Ensure that children have eaten and are hydrated before the trip to avoid carsickness. Limit screen time, open windows for fresh air, and encourage looking at the horizon. Be prepared for any travel mishaps with a calm demeanor.

What Should I Expect When Flying During Thanksgiving?

The Thanksgiving period is expected to be busier than usual, with the highest number of flyers since 2005. Practice empathy and patience in crowded airports and planes. Be mindful of the effects of alcohol consumption and alert flight attendants to any concerns.

How Can I Manage Emotional Stress During Thanksgiving Travel?

Plan ahead for potential family conflicts and focus on mental health during your journey. Setting intentions for interactions with family members can help navigate complex dynamics and alleviate anticipatory anxiety about the holidays.

More about Thanksgiving Travel Tips

  • Thanksgiving Traffic Projections
  • Managing Carsickness in Children
  • Air Travel During Thanksgiving
  • Emotional Well-Being During Holidays

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Sam J November 20, 2023 - 11:40 pm

could’ve used more info on road safety, but overall a decent read. Traffic jams are the worst part of any holiday, aren’t they?

Linda_Q November 21, 2023 - 1:15 pm

great article, would love more tips on handling family dynamics though. That’s always the trickiest part of any holiday gathering, right?

Mark_the_Traveler November 21, 2023 - 5:26 pm

good points on air travel. people often forget how stressfull it can get with so many people flying for the holidays.


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