Holiday travel tips: Thanksgiving projected to be second-highest travel day in over a decade

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — More people are taking to the roads and the skies this week as we enter the second-highest Thanksgiving travel week in over a decade.

According to AAA, more than 55 million people will kick off their holiday week by traveling 50 miles or more.  The company says Thanksgiving is projected to mark the second highest travel holiday since 2005.

About 1.6 million more people are traveling this holiday, a 2.9% increase from last year.

The majority of travelers, 49.3 million, will drive to their destinations, however airlines have seen a 4.6% increase in  travel volume during the Thanksgiving holiday; 4.45 million Americans are expected to fly.

AAA says Wednesday will be the worst day for travel across the board and it could take motorists  as much as four times longer as commuters mix with travelers.

According to data collected by Google Maps, here are the best and worst times to leave Cleveland for your holiday road trip this week:

Before Thanksgiving:

  • Best Time: Thanksgiving day, 4 a.m. EDT
  • Worst Time:  Wednesday, 3 p.m. EDT

After Thanksgiving:

  • Best Time: Friday, 3 a.m. EDT
  • Worst Time: Friday, 3 p.m. EDT

Click here to see more Cleveland travel information or data about other cities.

For those flying this week, AAA recommends flying the Monday before Thanksgiving.  Monday is expected to be a lighter travel day than the rest of the holiday week and also offers the lowest average airfare prices.

The Transportation Security Administration has released the following tips to make your holiday travel as smooth as possible:

  1. Get to the airport early—two hours prior to a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight.
  2. Know which foods can travel in your carry-on bag. Pies, cakes, stuffing mix, casseroles, are all good in a carry-on bag because they are solid food items.
  3. Know which foods should go into a checked bag. Gravy, cranberry sauce, wine, jam, preserves, should all go into a checked bag. Why? They are not solids. Basically if you can spill it, spray it, spread it, pump it or pour it, (say that three times fast) then it’s not a solid and should be packed in a checked bag.
  4. Wear slip-on shoes. Shoe laces and zip-up boots take extra time to remove and put back on.
  5. Place your electronic carving knife (or your non-electric knife) in your checked bag.
  6. Pack smart. Don’t bring along any prohibited items. Click here for a list of items you can and cannot take on an airplane.
  7. Download the free MyTSA app.
  8. Use your time in the checkpoint line wisely. It’s the perfect time to take items out of your pockets and place them in your carry-on bag and to get your ID and boarding pass ready to hand to the TSA officer.
  9. Enroll in TSA Precheck — if not before Thanksgiving, then before your next trip. It allows you to leave on your shoes, lightweight jacket and belt when you go through the checkpoint. Plus, you can leave your electronics and your one-quart-size liquids bag in your carry-on bag instead of removing it at the checkpoint. It’s like driving in the fast lane.
  10. Pay attention to the guidance that the TSA officers are providing at the checkpoint. They may be directing you to a shorter line or guiding you around someone who is moving slowly. And they may be giving you some advice that will lessen the likelihood that you’ll need a pat-down.

TSA says that due to the increase in travelers, officials expect to screen 4% more passengers this holiday travel season than last year.

You can also track delays at your departing and arriving airports, here.

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