Make Your Thanksgiving Travel Easier3 min read
This Thanksgiving, American airports are going to be packed. This isn’t unusual – the Thanksgiving holiday is the busiest travel time of the year. Consequently, it is often filled with transportation delays, traffic and travel snags for travelers. Planes, trains and automobiles.
But this year might be worse.
Airlines for America has estimated that 24.6 million passengers will travel globally between November 21 and December 2. That’s a 1.5 percent leap over the number of travelers who boarded planes during the Thanksgiving period last year. Those figures mean that airports and planes will be averaging an additional 31,000 passengers per day. Airlines are actually adding seats in their planes to accommodate the demand to travel this holiday.
The busiest travel days this Thanksgiving are expected to be, in order, Sunday, November 30; Monday, December 1; and Wednesday, November 26.
And just because even more people are flying this Thanksgiving doesn’t mean airlines are giving people breaks on the cost of airfare. Expect airfare to cost more than it would at other times of the year.
So how can you navigate traveling for Thanksgiving without some of the headaches that hiked airfare and jam-packed airports can cause? With a bit of planning, you can find your way home or away on a holiday vacation.
It’s a little late to take advantage of the lower rates and available seats that airlines typically have early in the fall season. But, if you sign up for notifications of sales from airlines and follow them on social media, you’ll be more aware of sales, and therefore able to jump on bargains as soon as they pop up (sometimes before they are even made available to the general public).
If you book your trip through a booking website such as Orbitz, Expedia or Priceline, you might be able to get a discount on your airfare if you also book a hotel.
Since many airlines charge you to check your bag, save some money by packing light and carrying on your bag. You can always borrow a sweater once you get to Mom and Dad’s house. But, beware, all of those other holiday travelers will have the same idea and overhead space is limited. You might be forced to check your bag if there isn’t space for it in the overhead compartment.
To avoid this hassle, consider shipping some of your belongings to your destination ahead of time, especially if you’re visiting family whose house address you can ship to.
And consider the days you want to travel. Since the busiest days are the day before Thanksgiving and the Sunday and Monday after, you might find cheaper fares, more available seating and less people at the airport if you choose different dates to fly. The lightest traveled days during the holiday are the day of Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 27, and Black Friday, November 28.
Photo from Satya Murthy.