/ATPE/media/Blog/211123_Thanksgiving.jpg?ext=.jpg /ATPE/media/Blog/211123_Thanksgiving.jpg?ext=.jpg

Thanksgiving Travel Tips

Association of Texas Professional Educators
Association of Texas Professional Educators

Date Posted: 11/22/2021

Whether you are preparing a celebration at home or traveling across the country to visit your loved ones, Thanksgiving can be a busy and stressful holiday. With all the hope for relaxation and an escape from the daily grind, traveling around this time can be exactly the opposite. But though holiday travel may feel a bit daunting, it doesn’t have to be. With a little preparation and some help from the following tips and your ATPE member discounts, you can rest easy knowing that you are ready for anything.

Plan Ahead

Ideally, you made your Thanksgiving travel arrangements weeks, if not months, ago. The earlier you book flights, the more likely you are to get better seats and lower fares. Airlines often advertise holiday offers on their websites or social media accounts months ahead with special deals and discounts for savvy travelers. You will also want to consider which days you choose to travel. The closer to Thanksgiving, the longer the lines and the bigger the headaches. Consider arriving earlier or leaving later if your schedule allows.

Don’t forget to stop by the ATPE Member Discounts webpage as you plan to see how your member benefits can help you stretch your travel dollar. As an ATPE member, you have access to exclusive savings on rental cars, hotel stays, and more.

Consider Driving

If you choose to avoid the airports altogether, driving can be a wonderful option as well. In some cases, this could drastically increase your overall travel time, but it does allow you to avoid airports and rental cars. A good rule of thumb for drivers during the week of Thanksgiving is to consider a scenic route whenever practical. The extra time you spend navigating away from holiday traffic can definitely be worth it with proper planning.

Avoid Delays

You can’t hope to predict the weather any more than you can hope to control it. It may be a beautiful time of year where you live, but the climate at your destination could be drastically different. Be sure to check weather reports early and often for anything you might encounter that could cause a delay. This includes all sorts of potential storms or winter weather that could create unsafe flying or driving conditions. Once again, it pays to start out early. This is just as true for driving as it is for airports.

Pack Light

Especially important if you decide to fly, packing light is the best way to go so you can avoid the crowds at baggage claim and the potential for lost luggage. Traveling with only a carry-on is incredibly liberating and convenient, when possible. You can save space and money by bringing a small backpack or briefcase as well; it won’t cost anything extra as long as it meets the airline’s size requirements. Also, for bulky clothing, if you can wear it instead of packing it, you can save even more space. If you instead decide to drive to your destination, packing light allows more space in your vehicle for the convenience of a cooler  you can load up with snacks and drinks for the journey ahead.

Airport Security

The security checkpoints at terminals can become a madhouse around holidays, and it helps tremendously to know what to expect and which items could hold you up with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Although this is always a stressful time of year to navigate airports, there may be additional hurdles due to COVID-19. When encountering a security checkpoint, you will be required to wear a mask and remove it only to verify your identity. Be sure to keep backup masks handy just in case. You will also need to be careful if you are transporting food. Solid foods are typically safe to carry with you on a flight, but anything that could spill or leak should be carefully packed into a sealed container and stored in a checked bag. If you have any questions about what is OK to travel with and how it should be stored, visit the TSA website.

Whether you are in a busy airport or driving down the interstate, don’t forget that you are not the only one in a hurry and that safety trumps everything else. We all face similar hurdles when traveling for Thanksgiving, and we all want to make it safely to our friends and family to celebrate. When driving, refrain from aggressive behavior, be respectful of others, and don’t forget to lend a helping hand when you can. By working together and being mindful of others, perhaps we can get there in time to relax, be thankful, and not miss a single gobble.