How To Survive The Thanksgiving Terror: 8 Travel Tips To Make Your Holiday Trip Easier

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and many people are already packing their bags to visit loved ones. It is no surprise that this week is known to be the busiest travel time of the year.

AAA predicts that the Thanksgiving travel volume will reach the highest level since 2007 and more than 46 million Americans will travel from Wednesday through Sunday, which is a 4.2 % increase compared to 2013.

Luckily, the almost 90 % of travelers who have decided to take a road trip this year, will be able to enjoy the lowest gas prices on Thanksgiving since 2009. Here are a few quick tips for automobile and air travelers, who are going to hit the road this week.

1. Carry-On Baggage

Since more people are expected to travel this week, make sure that you pack light and don’t have to check in your bags. Carrying on your small bag can save you a lot of waiting time and significantly reduces the chance of losing your belongings during the trip. Another plus: No baggage fees! Make sure that gifts are not wrapped and use gift bags instead. This way you can prevent them from getting unwrapped by the security personnel.

2. Checklist

Let’s be honest: How often did you forget something at home because you were packing your bags in a rush? Not this time! Put important medication and chargers in your handbag, as well as your wallet (don’t forget your I.D. or passport) and important numbers on a piece of paper. A portable travel charger for your mobile device might be a good idea, especially when you are going to be on a longer trip. Below you will find my personal checklist for corporate and leisure travel, feel free to use and customize it to your personal needs.

3. Make A Corporate Trip

Even though the roads and airports will be crowded, Thanksgiving is actually the perfect time for corporate travel. Why? Nobody is going abroad, the international corporate travel sector suffers and many airlines have to reduce the prices (up to 50%!) for their business class to fill capacity. So why not eat Turkey in another country and get some business done, too?

4. Good Timing

If you don’t want to get the typical “holiday headache”, plan your trip wisely. The day before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year, that’s why you should consider leaving early on Thanksgiving Day when many people are already together with their families. The traffic won’t be as bad and your journey will be much more comfortable. Avoid driving back home on Sunday, since the streets and airports are going to be extremely crowded.

5. Pack Snacks

Especially if you are traveling with kids, you should pack some light snacks for the trip. Buying food at the airport can often be very expensive and to be honest, a dry piece of Starbucks cake for $8 is not exactly what I would consider a delicacy. If you are traveling by car, packing snacks can save you a lot of time, because you don’t have to stop somewhere and find a restaurant that everyone likes. Sandwiches, cookies and sliced apples are handy and leave enough space for the big Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday.

6. Find The Cheapest Gas

Yes, the gas prices haven’t been lower in 5 years, but that doesn’t mean you can’t save even a little bit more money. Many free smartphone apps help you find the cheapest gas along your route. Simply enter your location and it will show you prices near you. (e.g. GasBuddy)

7. Time For Twitter

“Hey, I am busy packing” you might say now, but there is a good reason why you should still have a look at your Facebook or Twitter. If you are taking the plane this year, you should follow your airline and airport to get important updates. If there is a delay, you will be the first to know.

8. Relax

No matter how much you plan ahead, there can always be delays. Try to relax, make the best out of the trip and remember that other travelers are probably stressed, too. So smile, think of the delicious food that is waiting for you and enjoy your holidays!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Travel Checklist

Business- & Trip Items
Things to do before you leave:

  • Passport(s), Birth Certificate, Green card, keys, wallet, ticket#/Frequent Traveler, any bank tokens needed
  • Laptop, mouse, external HD, adapter/charger, full battery to demonstrate starting capabilities at security
  • Backup HD in case laptop get lost/stolen/damaged (HD should be encrypted and/or password protected)
  • European (other countries) electricity adapter
  • Smart phone, tablet & accessories (headphones, charger, etc.), camera (battery/charger)
  • Noise cancellation headphones & accessories (airplane adapter, extra battery)
  • Insurance Information
  • Emergency contacts
  • Empty water bottle
  • Out of Office reply, Stop Mail, turn of water heater, AC on vacation , TV off,
  • Go around the house, secure every door/window are secured and locked, as well as left home car doors, maybe provide neighbor with keys


  • Eye drops, contacts
  • Tooth brush (if electric battery/charger if necessary), tooth paste, Mouthwash, dental floss,
  • Deodorant/crystal
  • Razor (if electric: charger), shaving crème, after shave
  • Hair gel, body lotion, chap stick
  • Cologne/perfume
  • Pills (Aspirin, motion sickness, sleeping, nose spray, Medicine, Vitamins, etc.)
  • Chewing gum
  • Scissor/nail file
  • Napkins / tissues / wet wipes
  • Hand sanitizer, disincentive wipes (to wipe airline chairs, seat belt, tables and arm rests)
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect spray

On the plane & in the car:

  • Inflatable pillow
  • TSA-approved luggage locks
  • Travel blanket
  • Driving directions/map
  • Spare tire

General clothes:

  • Underwear
  • T-Shirt
  • Socks
  • Jeans
  • Dress shirts
  • Dress pants
  • Belt
  • Dress shoes
  • Suit/dress jacket /cufflinks
  • Raincoat/umbrella
  • Jogging/running shoes
  • Running pants
  • Soles
  • Flip-flops
  • Swimsuit/bathing suit
  • Pillow (in case special pillows are used)
  • Workout clothes

Cold weather:

  • Coat
  • Hat
  • Gloves
  • Jacket/rain protection pants/raincoat
  • Fleece
  • Cashmere Sweater
  • Long sleeve workout sweater
  • Long underwear


  • Balls, shoes, tees, clubs, towel, gloves, divot tool & marker, (trolley)
  • Sunscreen/chap stick, water, mosquito spray, sunglasses, hat
  • Clothes, rain protection


  • Racket(s),
  • Shoes,
  • Clothes
  • Wristband
  • Hat
  • Towel


  • Skis/Snowboard
  • Snow Boots
  • Hand warmers
  • Ski Mask
  • Warm and water resistant clothes
  • Sunscreen/chap stick

Baby and Toddler:

  • Pack n play
  • Stroller
  • Seat
  • Baby sunscreen
  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Rash-crème
  • Baby soap
  • Medicine & tools (Tylenol, Nasal Aspirator Syringe, Teething ring, etc.)
  • Baby detergent
  • Clothes
  • Clippers
  • Washcloth
  • Bibs
  • Swim clothes
  • Bottle
  • Spoon
  • Container
  • Clothes
  • Book
  • Rattle
  • Crib sheet
  • Car seat
  • Car seat base
  • Stroller adapters
  • Birth certificate/Passport
  • Scooter
  • Baby headphones for airplanes
  • Toys
  • Blanket
  • Plastic bags
  • Disinfecting hand gel
  • Nightlight

Image by Tiramisu Studio

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