Thanksgiving Travel Tips to Survive the Holiday

Thanksgiving is here! While it’s easy to get wrapped up in the festivities surrounding the day, remember that Thanksgiving is one of the biggest travel days of the year. In fact, to quote a popular fictional mother (Peggy Hill of King of the Hill):

While Peggy’s borderline narcissistic musing above is definitely not “her opinion,” it does, however, ring true. The day before Thanksgiving really is one of the busiest travel days of the year. So, in light of that fact, here are a few Thanksgiving travel tips to help you survive the holiday (sorry, these tips are only for travel and will not help you find common ground with your racist uncle).

Tip 1 – Get to the Airport Early

While nearly everyone knows that you should always arrive one hour early for a domestic flight (two hours for international), few people tend to realize that they should double that time during holiday travel. So, for Thanksgiving (and other big holidays) arrive two hours early for domestic flights and at least three hours early for international. Otherwise, you could wind up spending turkey day in an airport lobby!

Tip 2 – Know What Foods to Carry-On and Which to Check

The TSA has precise rules regarding which types of foodstuffs they allow on flights. There are rules for both carry-on and checked food items.

Foods Safe for Carry-On
The following types of foods are allowed as carry-on items:

  • Pies
  • Cakes
  • Stuffing mix (not the stuffing itself)
  • Casseroles
  • Other solid food items

Foods to Check
The following foodstuffs must be checked on flights:

  • Gravy
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Wine
  • Jam
  • Preserves
  • Other liquid or amorphous foodstuffs (like mashed potatoes and beer)

If you’re still concerned regarding which foods and items the TSA allow on flights, you can always download the MyTSA app and use the “Can I Bring” feature. Just type in an item and the app lets you know if you can safely bring it on a flight or not! Handy, right?

Tip 3 – Pack Smart

If you have to fly, try your best to avoid checking any bags. However, if you must check a bag, make sure all your personal necessities are in your carry-on. The last thing you want is to be without your medication if your baggage happens to get lost.

If you’re driving a significant distance, pack a small cooler filled with food and drinks. Lots of stores and gas stations close for the holiday, so make sure you’re as prepared as possible.

Tip 4 – Expect the Unexpected

Traveling for the holidays rarely goes as expected. So, to mitigate that problem, try to expect the unexpected. From weather delays (almost unavoidable this year due to winter weather warnings across the nation) to a flat tire, make sure you’re prepared for any possible occurrence whenever you travel.

Tip 5 – Remember to Relax

Thanksgiving is all about spending time with family and being thankful for what you have. So, don’t let holiday travel problems stress you out. Remember to relax. Unexpected things happen. Don’t add your own stress and panic on top of that. Take a deep breath, take a walk, take a driving break, and just make sure you keep your own mental health in high priority. Remember, holidays are supposed to be a break from the stressors of everyday life. Don’t let Thanksgiving ruin your Thanksgiving!