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Thanksgiving Travel Tips 2012

November 13th, 2012 - 2:04 PM

Whether it’s over the hill and through the woods or up in the air through the clouds, these Thanksgiving travel tips are sure to get you to grandma’s house (or wherever your family’s Thanksgiving is held this year) easier! Take a look, and Happy Thanksgiving!

According to AAA, 42.2 million Americans traveled at least 50 miles from their home in 2011 over Thanksgiving. That number was an 11.4% jump from 2010, so expect 2012 to jump even more!

Here are some great tips and info about traveling by air during Thanksgiving:

You can bring a turkey on the plane. However, the turkey must securely wrapped or in a seal proof container. The turkey must be in a solid frozen state when presented to TSA for screening—if there’s moisture at all, it won’t be accepted. You cannot use an ice pack or gel to keep it cold on the plane. It is recommended that you take your turkey as a carry-on rather than a checked item. TSA strongly recommends that you check with your airline to see if your turkey meets size and weight restrictions for carry-on luggage.

Other things you can bring on the plane. In addition, you can bring pies and cakes on the plane, but you should know that you’ll probably go through additional screening. If you have some early Christmas gifts for your family, be sure to not wrap them, but put them in gift bags instead, as TSA has the right to unwrap gifts to see what’s inside. Of course, items purchased passed the security checkpoint can be taken on the plane.

Don’t be last minute. Get a head start and book your flight early. Try to book a direct flight if possible so you’re not waiting around at the airport for a connecting flight. Of course, connecting flights are cheaper than direct flights, so you’ve got to decide if you want to save more time or money.

Get your seat early. There’s not going to be any wiggle room on your flight during Thanksgiving, so make sure you get the seats you want for your family by booking early.

Fly on Thanksgiving Day. While everyone’s watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, you’ll be on your way at a cheaper price than those who fly out on Tuesday and Wednesday. Ask grandma to postpone dinner a couple of hours and DVR the parade for you. Travelers flying on the Monday before Thanksgiving or on Thanksgiving Day save between 15-20% on their flight. After Thanksgiving Day, consider traveling on the 27th or later to return home, as there will be plenty of competition for seats on the 25th and 26th.

The cost to travel on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday and Monday after is 50 to 70% more than fares on the same days the following week. If you’re looking for a rough estimate of costs, here’s what you can expect from these peak days:

  • 500 miles or less = $120 + normal cost of round trip flight
  • 500-1,500 miles = $300 + normal cost of round trip flight
  • 1,500+ miles = $425 + normal cost of round trip flight

Here are some great tips and info about traveling by car during Thanksgiving:

Have a plan B. If the traffic gets too heavy on the interstate, have a plan B. Travel with a GPS and even old-school maps just in case you need to take the back way to grandma’s house, or take a detour to avoid heavy traffic.

Get organized. Going through a state that requires road tolls? Stop by the bank and get some change. Make sure that you have plenty of snacks, especially for the kids. Healthy snacks will make you feel better about indulging in the 3 types of pies grandma made just for you, plus they’ll satisfy your hunger without spoiling your appetite for dinner.

Is the GPS in the car, what about the emergency kit (water, toilet paper, flashlight, blankets, etc.)? The more organized you are with what you take, the more peace of mind you’ll have.

Service your car. The key to safety on the road is knowing that you’re driving in a safe vehicle. Get an oil change, inflate your tires, make sure the air and heat is working properly, and wash the car so you can see clearly out the windows.

Be fuel efficient. The best way to be fuel efficient is to travel light. The heavier the car, the less MPG the car will get, so be sure to clean out the car before you take off. Also, plan your travel time. Traffic is heavier on Thanksgiving Day, so leaving the night before can help you skip delays.

In addition, be sure to use the app GasBuddy to find the cheapest gas stations near you.

Keep the kids (and yourself) entertained! I remember playing the license plate game many times on long road trips. You want the kids to look out the window, not just at a TV screen or iPod the entire time. Plus, travel games can create fun family memories and laughter that should have the kids saying “Are we there yet?” less and less. When the kids are watching a movie with their headphones on, entertain yourself with a podcast, listening to the local radio of whichever state you’re driving through, or playing some travel games of your own with your spouse or friend in the passenger’s seat.

Don’t forget the dog! If you’re taking Fido or Fluffy along for the ride or along for the flight, be sure to review what will make them happy passengers, too!

Moving during Thanksgiving

The holidays are a perfect time for moving, too, and Thanksgiving is no exception. To move during Thanksgiving, you’ll need to be prepared by planning well. Use U-Pack’s moving checklist to stay on task before, during, and even after your move.

If you want to move quickly (holidays don’t last long), I suggest using U-Pack, the ‘you pack, they drive’ moving service with rates comparable to truck rental. U-Pack averages long distance transit times of 2 to 5 business days compared to traditional movers’ 4-6 weeks.

Get a free moving quote and see how you can save money with U-Pack by just doing the loading and unloading, and letting U-Pack do the driving! We drive. You save. ®

Give us a gobble!

Do you have any Thanksgiving travel tips to add to the list? Comment below with your tip! Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Thanksgiving travels!