BALTIMORE (WJZ) — With Thanksgiving upon us, many people are gearing up for a travel marathon in their dash to meet with family and friends.
More than a million Marylanders will go farther than the grocery store to get Thanksgiving dinner this year, joining a record-breaking number of Americans who plan to travel for the holiday.
“It’s the highest travel volume we’ve seen for Thanksgiving since 2005,” said AAA spokesperson Regina Averella. Travelers should expect some holiday company in the air, on the rails, and most of all, on the roads.
“If you plan on driving,” said Averella. “and you haven’t already hit the roads, you might want to start doing that.”
The same can be said for passengers heading to the airport, where airlines recommend allowing extra time for screening so that any holiday plans don’t turn into a less than pleasant surprise.
From planes to trains, Amtrak delivered 770,000 people to their Thanksgiving destinations last year. 20,000 of whom came through Baltimore’s Penn Station.
Here are some tips to hopefully make travelling as efficient as possible:
- Push back traveling an extra day: You’ll be rushing and probably exhausted when you reach your destination but you won’t be sitting in as much traffic getting to dinner if you leave early enough in the day. The best days to drive or fly will be on Thanksgiving Day, Friday and Saturday.
- Check your traffic maps and apps: Some of the worst places for traffic congestion in the Baltimore Metro Area are MD-295, I-95, and I-695. Try to find alternate routes or plan to leave a lot earlier than planned.
- Make sure your car is road ready: No one wants to spend their holiday stranded on the side of the road somewhere. If you’re able to, take your car to a certified technician and make sure you won’t be one of the thousands of stranded motorists expected need AAA assistance this year.
- If you’re flying, get to the airport early. Like, really early: BWI sees, a great increase in traffic congestion during the week of Thanksgiving, especially on the terminal roadway. The hourly garage is recommended for pickups and drop-offs as the first sixty minutes are free for customers.
- Pack smart: If you’re flying and want to bring food, the TSA has a handy guide for what can be brought on with you and what needs to put into a checked bag.
- If you’re enrolled, make use of TSA pre-check: Being enrolled in the pre-check program allows you to leave shoes, light outerwear, and their belt when going through some airports. You’ll also be able to keep your laptop in its case if you’re bringing it with you.
Be safe and have a great Thanksgiving holiday!