The American Automobile Association warned that your commute to celebrate Thanksgiving could take as much as four times longer than normal over the holiday week.
In a press release put out by AAA earlier this month, it projected that about 54.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more this Thanksgiving.
If those predictions turn out to be correct, the number of long-distance travelers will be a high point not seen in more than a dozen years.
“Consumers have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season: higher wages, more disposable income and rising levels of household wealth,” Bill Sutherland, AAA Travel senior vice president, said in the organization’s statement.
“This is translating into more travelers kicking off the holiday season with a Thanksgiving getaway, building on a positive year for the travel industry.”
AAA used data from global mobility analytics company INRIX to warn its members which cities would be the most difficult to travel in.
Boston, San Francisco and New York City are expected to the most congested cities in the United States, with delays up to four hours on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the report.
AAA expects the early evenings will be the most congested time for travelers during the week.
“Thanksgiving is one of the busiest holidays for road trips, and this year will be no different,” said INRIX transportation analyst Trevor Reed.
“Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic. Our advice to drivers is to avoid commuting times in major cities altogether or plan alternative routes.”
Conversely, AAA predicted that the best days to travel would be Thursday, Friday and Saturday, which typically fall between the time that holiday travelers arrive and depart their Thanksgiving destinations.
According to AAA’s report, the worst delays will be between 5.30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
NBC reported an estimated 29 million people flew during the 12-day Thanksgiving travel period last year, and a record 30.6 million are expected to travel that way this year.
Airports in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles are expected to have the worst delays, which could surpass an hour and a half, according to AAA.
Tuesday and Wednesday are expected to see airport security at its most crowded.
NBC urged those planning any kind of travel to leave early and prepare their carry-on bags for what one can expect in a security checkpoint.
Additional tips for air travelers: Transfer small times — such as wallets, phone and keys — to your carry-on before you reach security.
Wear shoes or boots that can be quickly taken off and put back on, and review the rules of airport security if you’re an infrequent traveler.
Download the apps for the airline and airport that you’re traveling through in advance, so that you can receive alerts for updates on your flights, and always bring extra cash, snacks and patience — and of course, don’t forget your sense of humor.
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