It’s that time of year and Thanksgiving is the most traveled time of the year. Covid derailed last year’s holidays and with restrictions easing this year, the expectation is that this year will be a heavy travel time. AAA projects that 50.9 million Americans will travel 50 plus miles from home starting next Wednesday and going through to Sunday, November 26. According to the organization, this is the highest volume of travelers since 2005. There seems to be several hazards to navigate, adding to delays, anxiety, and frustration.
What does this mean for your travel plans? It means be prepared and stay informed!
It looks like the weather is going to be an issue in some areas this year. The exact timing of the weather has yet to be set, according to AccuWeather. Currently, meteorologists are watching two separate scenarios that can bring chaos to Thanksgiving travel. In both cases, heavy snow, rain, and thunderstorms can produce high winds throughout Southern states and central and eastern parts of the US. Meteorologists expect the worst weather on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. As of an hour ago, the storm is over southern Alaska and heading our way. The 95 corridor from New York City to Washington, DC will be spared the worst of it as far as the upcoming pattern. AccuWeather is still calling for strong winds with snow in the Ohio Valley and north and rain plus thunderstorms in the south.
This means keep an eye on the weather and if you can leave early, do so. Make sure you have a full tank and the appropriate clothing for the weather. During the winter, I keep a small snow shovel and a telescoping snow brush, in case I need to dig myself out. I keep water in the car and some snacks plus a blanket for road delays. Drive slow and keep an ear to local news. Growing up in Northeast Ohio taught me to be prepared for snowmageddon.
Something else to consider is Life 360. The Bestie, her daughter, and I have it on our phones to track where we are. When my guy and I drove down to Virginia Beach to join the Bestie and her family, she followed our progress down because the kids were wondering where we were. Princess rides her bike and she is required to take her phone so her mom and track her, if need be. Each family member has a bubble which moves around the map. You receive notifications when someone in your family leaves home, arrives home, has low battery, and launches an SOS. You can track their route and in cases like bad weather that may be a good idea.
Another issue is the amount traffic coming next week. Conde Nast said it best:
“For some of the country’s most congested cities—New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.—Tuesday, November 22 is universally marked as the worst day to travel (save for Atlanta and Houston, which will fare worse Wednesday). To beat the rush, avoid traveling in the evening. AAA reports that delays hit especially hard between three and four p.m., with trip times slowed up to three times more than normal. And areas on major highways, like I-5 S in L.A., I-495 E in New York, and I-95 S in D.C. are slated to lock up too.”
Expect delays and keep close to technology. Even if you know where you are going, keep your GPS on for warnings about heavy traffic and congestion. I like Google maps because I can display it in my car, map out points of interest along the way and share my itinerary. I also like Waze. I feel that Waze has better live reports and I am able to display it on my car screen through Apple Carplay and Android Auto.
Something else to keep in mind is having enough gas in the car. iExit is an excellent app for finding the best gas prices and has interstate guides which you can launch by opening the app on or near any interstate nationwide. What I appreciate about iExit is that Yelp is integrated and provides ratings and reviews. Gas Buddy is another app that provides gas prices enroute and provides a rewards program. There is a trip cost calculator along with an outage finder that provides information on gas stations that have power and fuel during natural disasters.
Something else to keep in mind is roadside service. I have mine through USAA and my kids are on it, too. Yes, they are older and, yes, I still worry about them….a lot. Amanda always came home from school during spring break and in her senior here she decided to go up to Montreal with some of her friends. It was snowing and they slid off the road. Luckily, no one was hurt and it wasn’t too bad. It was rough on her because the police that came only spoke French. I had her call USAA and they came out and pulled her right onto the road. The rest of the trip proceeded without incident. Why my daughter chose to go north for spring break still eludes me to this day. Alex normally stays home for spring break, too. I have never asked them why they never wanted to go on spring break. It could be that maybe they just want to see their mom. Oh well, a mom can dream.
Be careful and most importantly watch the weather since that is going to create chaos in an already busy travel time. Keep safe and cheers!