The Best Times To Travel For Thanksgiving 2018

Save yourself the headache.

New Yorkers Hit The Roads For The Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend
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It's beginning to look a lot like Thanksgiving travel could get your holiday off to a rough start. According to the , it's projected that 54.3 million Americans will travel 50 or more miles from home to feast this year, which is the most since 2005—up 4.8 percent from last year.

With so many travelers trying to get to their Turkey Day destinations around the same time, it's hard to predict when exactly you should get a move on. By the grace of all things good, you don't have to do it alone. Thanks to AAA, whether you're driving or flying, you can—at the very least—try to avoid the rush.

If you're driving...

Travelers Embark On Holiday Travel Day Before Thanksgiving
Getty ImagesScott Olson

It's important to remember you are just one (or a few) of the estimated 48.5 million people doing the same. Transport analyst at , Trevor Reed, shared with AAA that, not surprisingly, Thanksgiving is one of the busiest holidays for road trips every year. Because of this, if you're planning to drive, your best bet is to leave on Thanksgiving Day.

"Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic." His best suggestions are to best avoid traveling to major cities and plan out alternate routes so you don't have to drive through them (and get stuck.)

Here are the worst days and times to hit the road in a few major U.S. cities from data pulled by INRIX:

Boston

Worst Day For Travel: Tuesday
Worst Time For Travel:
4:00-6:00 p.m.
Worst Hotspot:
I-495 S, exit 41 to 33
Delay:
up to 2.75 times as long as usual

Atlanta

Worst Day For Travel: Tuesday
Worst Time For Travel: 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Worst Hotspot: I-75 N, exit 216 to 227
Delay:
up to 2.75 times as long as usual

Washington, D.C.

Worst Day For Travel: Tuesday
Worst Time For Travel:
5:00-7:00 p.m.
Worst Hotspot:
Capital Beltway Clockwise
Delay: up to 2.5 times as long

New York

Worst Day For Travel: Tuesday
Worst Time For Travel: 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Worst Hotspot: I-95 W, exit 7 to Hamilton Bridge
Delay: up to 3.5 times as long

Chicago

Worst Day For Travel: Wednesday
Worst Time For Travel:
2:30-4:30 p.m.
Worst Hotspot: I-94 W, exit 40A to 1
Delay: up to twice as long as usual

Los Angeles

Worst Day For Travel: Wednesday
Worst Time For Travel: 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Worst Hotspot: I-5 S, exit 79 to 54B
Delay:
up to twice as long as usual

PSA: When it comes to returning home, Sunday is not going to be your friend, since millions of people will be driving home then. Therefore, your best return options are Black Friday or Saturday.

For a full list of Worst Times To Hit The Road In America's Largest Cities, .

If you're flying...

US-HOLIDAY-TRAVEL
Getty ImagesPAUL J. RICHARDS

Don't be fooled into thinking traffic isn't something you have to worry about. Although flying gives you the luxury of not having to sit still on the ground through most of your travel, traffic isn't impossible when you're driving to the airport. Especially since an estimated 4.27 million travelers will be doing the same. Plus, security lines around the holidays are even longer than normal, so plan extra buffer time so you're not rushing to make your flight, especially if you're traveling to these airports at these times to catch your plane:

Dallas

Airport Route: Downtown to DFW via TX-183 W
Worst Time For Travel:
Monday, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Travel Time At Peak:
30 minutes

New York

Airport Route: Downtown to JFK via Long Island Expressway East
Worst Time For Travel:
Tuesday, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Travel Time At Peak:
1 hour, 19 minutes

Los Angeles

Airport Route: Downtown to LAX via I-110 S
Worst Time For Travel:
Tuesday, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Travel Time At Peak:
58 minutes

Atlanta

Airport Route: Downtown to ALT via I-75 S
Worst Time For Travel:
Tuesday, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Travel Time At Peak:
34 minutes

Las Vegas

Airport Route: Downtown to LAS via I-15 S
Worst Time For Travel:
Wednesday, 8:00-9:00 a.m.
Travel Time At Peak:
27 minutes

Chicago

Airport Route: Downtown to ORD via Kennedy Expressway West
Worst Time For Travel:
Wednesday, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Travel Time At Peak:
1 hour, 37 minutes

Additionally, if possible, recommends signing up for since security procedures slow down when there are so many people traveling. "Many people who travel at this time of year aren’t seasoned fliers, which means they may not know about standard procedures such as removing their shoes, laptops and liquids." Because of this, bypassing the standard security line can really help as you won't have to take your shoes off and keep your possessions inside your bag. How does this work? Upon signing up, the government does a thorough background check on you, so you can skip a lot of the line.

Don't worry, though! In the end, all that wine, pie, and stuffing will be worth it. Of course, it will taste a little yummier warm, so try not to be late.

For a full list of Worst Travel Times To America's Busiest Airports, .

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