Trains, Planes, Automobiles: Top Thanksgiving Travel Tips

We know the holiday season often means traveling out of town for many families. This year, over 46.9 million Americans are expected to travel by car, plane, bus, or train for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. With the cheapest gas prices since 2008, travelers should expect extra congestion and and traffic, no matter the travel method. Here are our top tips to make your Thanksgiving Travels as easy as pie. 


Thanksgiving Travel By Plane

Add 50 extra minutes to your trip to the airport!

Not only should you add the extra minutes for driving, expect longer lines and tighter security measures at the airport. Even if you have TSA Pre-Check, TSA may require you to remove your shoes, laptop, and jacket during the security process. Overall, there is a decrease in the number of TSA airport personnel working this year. Give yourself plenty of time, especially if traveling with children. 

Here are some of the Holiday Travel Tips by the TSA:

Arrive Prepared - arrive at the airport at least two hours before your flight

Check the prohibited items list - any questions about an item? Check the list or ask on Twitter

Wrapped Gifts - Wrapped gifts are allowed but not encouraged. If TSA needs to check the inside of the item, an agent will open it. 

Remember to leave liquids and perishables at home! Did you know pies aren't forbidden by the TSA? However, it may require extra screening, adding extra time to your security process. We recommend leaving any liquids and food items at home, if flying. 

Remember to save time and money by booking your airport parking ahead of time. View Airport Parking options here

Thanksgiving Travel By Train

Union Station, Penn Station, Grand Central Station, oh my! 

It's not too late to book your ticket for the Thanksgiving break. Remember to arrive at the station at least 30 minutes before your train departure time. Tag your luggage and check your specific train's luggage restrictions. Most allow 2 bags up to 50 pounds. 

Driving to your train station? 

Whether you're taking Amtrak or the local train to your destination, we know how hectic parking around train stations can be. Many will be sold out during the holiday break. Guarantee yoursef a parking space before even leaving for the train station. Parking Panda is a proud partner of Amtrak. Book Amtrak Station parking here

Thanksgiving Travel By Bus

Taking a bus to your destination is one of the most affordable ways to travel. Companies like Greyhound, Megabus, and Bolt Bus have convenient travel options for the most popular travel destinations. A lot of the popular routes are sold out but you can still snag a deal. Check the company website for more information. 

The further back you sit on a long bus, the bumpier your ride will be. If your seat is unassigned, keep that in mind, and arrive early. Oftentimes, lines begin 15-30 min before the bus departure. Remember your large luggage bag will most likely go under the bus - keep your important items like medicine, cell phone, and snacks with you. 

Parking Panda is a proud partner of Greyhound and Megabus. If you're traveling by either bus options, we can help with parking! Book your parking space near the pick-up station before leaving for your trip. 

Thanksgiving Travel By Car

The average price of gasoline nationwide is $2.08 (savings about $11 for a full tank of gas!), the lowest since 2008. This will allow more families to travel and make driving an attractive option. The AAA is expecting 46.3 million to drive more than 50 miles from their residence this Thanksgiving. Wherever your final destination is, be sure to give yourself extra time to arrive. 

Thanksgiving Driving Tips: 

Download Waze to beat the traffic. Waze, the crowd-sourced traffic and navigation app is great for drivers. It will allow you to take less-congested roads (even if it's a little bit longer than your original route) and warn you of accidents and other road blocks ahead. 

Waze actually recommends driving conditions are best on Thanksgiving Day. Most will be traveling the day before on Wednesday, or on Tuesday. Traffic will start picking up on early afternoon on Tuesday and increase in mid- to late-afternoon. On Wednesday, the congestion will start earlier, at around 11 AM and continue through the day. 

Many travels will stay over the weekend and trek back home on Sunday. Waze is expecting the traffic jam to start at 10 AM on Sunday and get worse from 1-6 PM. 

One last tip is from Parking Panda - whether you're driving home, to the airport, or to the train or bus station, use Parking Panda to plan out your parking. Some garages are closed over the holiday. We've prepared to make we have the real-time information at our partner garages in our app. Don't waste any of your valuable time with finding parking. Let us do the work so you can spend more time with your loved ones. 

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Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels! 


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