Travel Advice: Thanksgiving Vacation Tips

Travel Advice: Thanksgiving Vacation Tips

14th Nov 2012

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The Thanksgiving holiday is a special time of year to give thanks and spend time with family. Whether traveling to an adjacent state or across the United States to celebrate the holiday, here are a few vacation tips that you may find helpful for easier holiday traveling, especially while traveling for a vacation over Thanksgiving.


Planning ahead for Thanksgiving travel is a huge indicator in cost difference for your vacation. Early fall and the first two weeks of October are the best time to buy airline tickets because more seats are available (due to many people not yet booking flights) and rates are lower. The same goes for hotel, rental car, airport parking lot and attraction bookings.

Planning ahead also allows for price comparison and avoidance of peak holiday travel days. The peak days are the Wednesday before and Sunday after Thanksgiving. Traveling on the actual holiday or celebrating a week after or before Thanksgiving allows for avoidance of crammed airports and roadways as well as fully booked hotels. Airlines also provide costs lowered by roughly 30% for travelers who travel the week before or after Thanksgiving. Avoid peak days to save in sanity and stress during your Thanksgiving travels.


During the Thanksgiving holiday traveling season we recommend using lesser known airports. In Chicago, many people travel through O’Hare but the Midway airport is less crowded and more convenient for many people, similarly using the Long Beach Airport for traveling to or from the Los Angeles or Anaheim areas saves on costs and time compared to the busier and better known LAX airport.  These airports have smaller security lines, faster boarding, less delays and smaller costs compared to traveling through larger airports within the same areas. 

Another plus of using lesser known airports is that there is less traffic in the routes to the airports and in the drop off lanes. If you are planning on driving yourself to the airport, we recommend making an early reservation for airport parking lots. During the Thanksgiving traveling season, many parking lots fill up fast and by reserving a spot early you can prevent costly fees and time looking for a place to park. If at all possible use public transportation or have a friend take you to the airport. This eliminates parking fees and stress about leaving your car for a long period of time in an unknown place.

Through traveling light, you can save time in airport security and save costs by not having to check baggage. Larger items that can be shipped, such as gifts, should be sent on ahead to prevent large unnecessary traveling items.  If you must take gifts with you on your Thanksgiving travels, do not wrap them until you’ve arrived at your destination to prevent TSA problems. Also bear in mind the TSA regulations on containers with liquid, food and other items.

And as with any traveling, remember your ID and leave early for airports or long drives to prevent delays. When flying, print out your boarding pass at home so you may head straight to security when arriving at the airport. When driving, be sure to map out your drive and be aware of construction, high traffic and delay filled areas.


Along with knowing possible problem areas on your preferred driving route, it is important to avoid heavy traveling days. As discussed above, avoid traveling during the evening on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after the holiday. These days are filled with holiday drivers and carry increased accident rates. These accident rates can also be increased by road conditions, so be sure to become aware of the road conditions along your driving route while preparing for all possibilities. Have snacks, drinks and emergency items within your car along with pillows, blankets, jumper cables, tire chains and other possible necessary car tools.

It is wise to carry emergency car items, but to also have your car checked before traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday. This provides peace-of-mind for you as travel and ensures you will reach your destination safely.

Thanksgiving Vacationing

By planning ahead and using common sense while traveling for the Thanksgiving holidays, you can save money and your sanity during this family oriented vacation season.

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