When to travel for Thanksgiving

  • Published by Ozgur Tore

The American national holiday ‘Thanksgiving’ is a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year.

thanksgiving trafficIt is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and on the second Monday of October in Canada. This year it falls on 27 November this year.

51 million turkeys will be consumed across the country on the day. On average US households will splash over $300 on Thanksgiving weekend celebrations, while 39 million families will travel to be with their relatives.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade kicks off the shopping season as it marks the start of Black Friday, when massive sales and extended opening hours attract diehard shoppers, and the parade itself is an extravaganza of balloons and pageantry.

It was started in 1924 after employees of the department store recruited animals from Central Park Zoo to march. In 1927 helium filled balloons filled the skies with the event first televised nationally in 1947.

The parade now attracts 44 million viewers, three million of whom line the two and a half mile route as it winds through New York City.

Google Maps looked at Thanksgiving traffic conditions over the last two years for 21 cities across the U.S.1 to find the most useful information to make your holiday trip a little easier.

Whether you’re traveling near or far, Google Maps’ traffic tips will help you navigate the roads like a pro, so you’ll be feasting on Turkey Day delights with friends and family in no time. Here are seven tips in pictures to guide you through the holiday:

1. Avoid traveling on Wednesday:

thnksgvng worstday

2. But if you must leave on Wednesday:


3. Good news for local travelers—Thanksgiving Day traffic is a breeze:

traffic thxgivingday

4. Travel back home on Sunday, not Saturday:


5. Expect to spend more time in traffic than average if you live in these three cities: Philadelphia, Austin and Washington, D.C. saw the three biggest increases in traffic during Thanksgiving week.

thxgiving philadelphia

6. Get these three items ahead of time: Last-minute runs to the corner store can be unavoidable as you prep for the big day, but not all last minute trips are created equal.


7. Leave extra time for Christmas shopping:

xmas blackfriday

With these traffic tips in hand, plus real-time traffic info provided by Google Maps on Android or iOS, you’ll be spending less time in traffic and more time with the people you care about this Thanksgiving

Google Maps looked at 21 cities across the U.S. from the Monday before Thanksgiving through the Sunday after Thanksgiving for both 2012 & 2013: Austin, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, Providence, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa, Washington, D.C.

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