Traveling for the Holidays? Here’s What to Expect

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock Photos

Whether you are traveling by car or plane over the holidays, chances are the trip will test your patience. GR|MAG reached out to AAA Michigan and the Gerald R. Ford International Airport for suggestions on how to keep your cool during holiday travel.

AAA projects that more than 1.7 million Michigan residents will journey 50 or more miles from home this Thanksgiving holiday. The organization said this year marks the most expected travelers since 2007 and is a nearly 5 percent increase over last year. This also marks the ninth consecutive year of growth for Thanksgiving travel in the state as more people take to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways.

More than 1.5 million people will be making their Thanksgiving trip by car, but AAA said air travel has also increased, with more than 144,000 taking to the skies.

AAA Travel Tips

Expect Congestion

With 48.5 million Americans on the road next week, expect increased traffic congestion from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday through Wednesday as travelers mix with afternoon commuters. Sunday will also be a busy day as the majority of holiday travelers traverse the roads home. So plan your trip accordingly. If you’re passing through large metro areas, you’ll likely need to plan additional hours into your commute time.

Travel During Less Busy Times

If possible, AAA suggests that drivers avoid traveling through the nation’s largest cities during peak hours. The roads are generally less crowded early in the morning and on Thanksgiving Day.

Get a Tune-Up Before Hitting the Road

AAA expects to rescue 360,000 motorists along the roadside this Thanksgiving. Dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires are the most typical reasons for rescues, according to the organization. The solution, make sure your car is in traveling shape before hitting the roadway. “Oil changes, fluid level checks, battery tests and tire inspections go a long way toward reducing the chances of a breakdown,” AAA said.

Ford Airport Travel Tips

Plan for Construction

GFIA is under construction as part of its multi-phase, multi-year Gateway Transformation Project. The airport said the right curbside lane is closed in front of the terminal between Door 3 and Door 4 as part of the current construction. Because of this closure, traffic will be impacted and cars will not be able to park for more than just pick-ups and drop-offs.

Lines Will Be Longer

More than 25 million travelers will be passing through security checkpoints nationwide during the Thanksgiving travel season. The airport recommends travelers arrive 90 -120 minutes ahead of their flight times to ensure they are able to get through baggage drop off lines and security checkpoints with enough time to reach their gate ahead of boarding.

Pack Smart & Follow the TSA Rules

Prepare for security when packing and ensure that there are no prohibited items in your baggage. Passengers can bring pies, cakes and other baked goods through the checkpoints; however, liquids such as eggnog and maple syrup, and gels such as preserves and jellies, should go into checked bags.


Don’t Be a Jerk

Holiday travel is stressful and expectations are high, which means people often lose it over the littlest inconvenience or perceived slight. Try to remember that everyone is in the same boat. Expect some inconveniences and try to give others the benefit of the doubt. We promise you’ll have a happier holiday if you keep your cool.

*Photo courtesy of Thinkstock Photos

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