The leisure travel industry has bounced back from the pandemic way quicker than expected in 2022. With more Americans planning on traveling this year, you can expect that the usually busy Thanksgiving travel days will, once again, be bustling. If you’re planning on traveling for Thanksgiving this year, here are a few tips to help.
How many times since March 2020 have you cooked and eaten a quiet meal at home? For most Americans, the answer is simple – a lot. With the pandemic playing spoilsport in 2020, plenty of folks had to spend Thanksgiving away from their family and friends. Family get-togethers were reduced to awkward (yes, we know how those can get!) zoom calls with everyone talking over each other. Not quite the real deal, right? That is how many Americans are feeling as they plan their Thanksgiving travels. While the lingering delta variant may dampen spirits, the desire to see family and friends and preserve tradition lures more Americans to airports and roadways than it did last year. If Thanksgiving travels are on your schedule, here are some tips that will help you.
1. Plan ahead for drama-free Thanksgiving travels
Thanksgiving holidays are unquestionably one of the busiest travel periods of the year. Each year beleaguered travelers need to battle with transportation delays and gridlocks at practically every turn. But, with a little foresight and careful planning, you can avoid at least a few Thanksgiving travel woes. It’s never too early to start travel planning. Start booking your air tickets, hotel stays, and airport parking spots right away!
2. Don’t pack too many bags
As more airlines begin charging for checked luggage, it might be a really smart idea to pack light. Try and fit all the things you’ll need into a carry-on bag. A word to the wise – this smart idea might occur to most of your fellow passengers too. Overhead space might run out, so keep your bag really small and look unbelievingly at your teensy-weensy little bag when asked to check it in. It’s been known to work! Or you might want to think even smarter and ship some of your belongings (the ones you don’t need every day) ahead of time.
Wondering what to wear to the airport? Check out this blog on What to wear to the airport: The Essentials Guide for comfort and style.
3. Choose when to travel
We cannot stress this one enough. So, which are the best and worst days to travel for Thanksgiving? The day before Thanksgiving is always the most hectic travel day of the year. This is closely followed by the Sunday after the big day when people have to tear themselves away from the leftover Turkey and football to make their way home. To avoid the dreaded Wednesday before Thanksgiving travel madness, fly out on Monday, Tuesday, or even Thanksgiving morning. Plan your return on the very next day, i.e., Friday, or delay it till the following Monday.
4. Use your points and miles
If you’re having trouble finding flights that fall within your budget, you can use any points or miles you’ve accrued through traveling. You could also consider spending on a travel rewards credit card. All of the main airlines in the United States have their own loyalty schemes. Check if you’ve previously flown with American, Delta, United, Southwest, or JetBlue and entered your frequent flyer number into the reservation. If so, you’ll have been awarded points and miles in exchange for your business. And, if you’ve accumulated enough points and miles in your accounts that have been sitting idle during the pandemic, Thanksgiving may be the greatest opportunity to put them to use.
5. Be an early bird
Yes, they get to ‘worm’ their way right ahead of slow-moving TSA lines and avoid last-minute dashes to the gate. Leave home early enough to avoid getting caught in traffic snarls. You’ll have an easy and relaxed check-in at the airport and might even find time to enjoy a life-saving cuppa joe before boarding! Airports can be fun places to hang out in- trust us. They are great places for people-watching and even to make new connections!
- You can save time and money at the airport with useful apps and websites like Way.com. Both the Way.com app and website provide information about airport and city parking, including maps along with booking options. Book your parking spot on Way.com, and you’ll never need to drive around looking for an empty parking spot.
- Don’t, and this is very important, forget to pack your thanksgiving pants!