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Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Tips

One of the biggest holiday travel headaches which can be completely unpredictable is traffic. With millions of Americans hitting the roads during November and December to travel to vacation destinations or visit friends and family, auto travel can certainly be frustrating. Most people only receive a long weekend off for the Thanksgiving holiday, which makes the day before Thanksgiving and the Sunday following the holiday some of the busiest travel days of the year. With a few tweaks to your travel schedule, you might be able to avoid some of the traffic and save yourself from a big holiday travel headache.

Here are a few Thanksgiving holiday travel tips to take into consideration when planning your Thanksgiving travel:

If possible, travel on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

It may not be ideal to work all day on Tuesday and then drive through the evening, but leaving a day ahead of everyone else will not only get you to your destination sooner, but it'll also help you avoid being stuck in traffic. If you are traveling with your family, switch off drivers through the night. If both drivers worked all day, the person driving should be well-rested and should take breaks when needed. If at any point you begin to feel drowsy while driving, find a safe place to pull over or stop and grab a few hours of sleep.

Take the roads less traveled.

You won't be the only one searching for alternate routes to avoid main highways and travel delays. Secondary travel routes can also quickly become jammed, so it's a great idea to map out up to three alternative routes that you can safely take and travel to avoid long lines of traffic. If the routes won't take you too far out of your way, it's sometimes much faster to take the longer route than the shortest route.

Make sure there are places to stop for gas, food, and restroom breaks.

Those less traveled roads might get you to your destination faster, but they might also have fewer places to stop for gas, take a potty break, or grab a bite to eat. Make sure you bring along freshly bottled water, and some non-perishable snacks to tide you over in case there aren't any food or drinks options for a stretch of several hours. As far as gas goes, of your car gets low gas mileage, the road less traveled might not be your best option. Getting stuck without gas in your vehicle will delay you much more than having to sit in traffic.

Say your goodbyes early and beat the rush home.

No one wants to have to cut their holiday trips short, but sometimes, it's best to pack up and head home on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, which will help you totally avoid Sunday travel. I have been in a Sunday-after-Thanksgiving travel situation where my trip took 10 hours rather than the 5 1/2 it should have taken to get back home. It was a nightmare! It all could have been avoided if I had left early in the morning, or better yet- the day before! Let my travel mistake be a lesson.

No matter where your holiday travels take you this season, we hope you enjoy your holiday and that you reach your destination safely!

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