Your Ultimate Guide To Traveling on Thanksgiving Day In November

Author: Megha Agarwal on Nov 22,2021

The fundamentals for traveling on Thanksgiving Day in November can be pretty daunting at times. This is your ultimate guide to avoid most of the holiday faux-pas! 


Ah! Thanksgiving is here. Every November, Americans and many other communities around the world celebrate this beautiful holiday. People enjoy Thanksgiving parades, Macy’s, breaking the wishbones for good luck, cranberry sauce, roast turkey, Brussel sprouts, and of course, mashed potatoes! 


People gather around, share what they are most thankful for and spend quality time with each other. And of course, how can we forget, they also shop till they drop on Black Friday the next day! 


This year, Thanksgiving will be celebrated on November 25 in the US and is expected to be the busiest time this year. Thanks to the reopening of commercial travel, the leisure and tourism industry have managed to bounce back since the pandemic first began in 2020. With more and more Americans considering traveling during Thanksgiving Day in November this year, you would also be looking forward to a hectic holiday season, constantly hustling and bustling. If you are planning to travel during Thanksgiving day in November this year, here are some tips that can help you out! 


Have a drama-free adventure by planning ahead


Now that the world and travel are gradually resuming and coming back to normal, flights are also getting back to operating to the total capacity. It is therefore essential to plan ahead to travel on Thanksgiving day in November. This will help you enjoy a drama-free vacation, avoid any transportation delays, travel snags, and traffic. Therefore, you should start planning your trip during early fall when prices for most things are still low and plenty of seating options are available easily. 


It would be pretty wise for you to sign up for sale notifications and follow your go-to airlines on their social media to be quickly informed about all the latest updates and offers as they come in. 


Another way to ensure smooth travels on Thanksgiving day in November is to carry a light carry-on bag. Most of your airlines are going to be charging an extra fee for check-in baggage. However, if you cannot avoid taking that big check-in bag filled with pleasantries for everyone in your family, you should ship them ahead separately, so they reach their destination in time. You will be really surprised to know that in 2020, between mid-March and Thanksgiving day in November last year, the Transportation Security Administration in the US managed to screen over a million passengers in a day, one single time. 


On the contrary, this year, the Transportation Security Administration has screened over a million passengers per day from mid-March 2021 till the end of October. Thus, the need to plan ahead to ensure your drama-free traveling plans to reach home for Thanksgiving is essential. 


Choose the days wisely



Choosing the days wisely for Thanksgiving is essential to avoid paying a hefty traveling expense, avoid the airport crowds and those long, dreadful waiting lines. The key here is to find the most appropriate flights on a flexible basis. Have flexible traveling plans/dates, this way, you can avoid all the horrifying things we just mentioned. 


Let’s look at the data from over the years. There are two extremely busy days and perhaps the most expensive days to travel domestically in the US - Wednesday before Thanksgiving day in November and Sunday after the holidays. 


Thus, if you can extend your flights to another week after Thanksgiving day in November or travel at least a week ahead of Holidays, you will be saving money while traveling and at the same time avoid the massive airport crowds. 


So, you should avoid traveling on November 24 this year, which is also the Wednesday before Thanksgiving 2021. You should also avoid traveling on November 28, which is the Sunday that follows the holidays. The farther you manage to choose the days of traveling during that particular week, the less you are likely to pay or wait at the airport. However, research has shown that extending your return travel date will influence the ticket prices downwards, far more than adjusting your departure travel dates. The next most expensive dates to travel during Thanksgiving 2021 would be Sunday, November 28, and Monday, November 29. 


Cheap dates and less crowded travel days 

Sunday, 21 November

Monday, 22 November

Thursday, 25 November (Thanksgiving day in November)

Friday, 26 November

Tuesday, 30 November


Additional tips for booking a relaxing travel experience 

You can easily adopt several best practices when booking your Thanksgiving travel flights to enjoy the best experience of flying home and gathering to celebrate with your loved ones. 


It would therefore make perfect sense to travel fully-vaccinated. Suppose you and your entire clan are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. In that case, you should definitely check out tickets to Europe or South America, which can be pretty cheap or a little more expensive than domestic ticket prices at the time. Thus, you and your loved ones can enjoy this beautiful holiday outside the country for much better prices. 


The best time to book your domestic traveling tickets for Thanksgiving day in November would be before the end of October when your ticket prices would still be pretty low. This tip will definitely help you save money while traveling on airline bookings. 


Another thing worth mentioning here would be that travelers should reach the airport early to find parking spots quickly. This will help them avoid any hassles and drama, pretty commonly seen during Thanksgiving travel seasons, and help you avoid a long security line. 


You can install various applications on your smartphone, allowing you to see the airport gates and gather the necessary restaurant information from the airport, among other things. Apps like GateGuru are therefore of extreme help here. With the help of these applications, you can render your time at the airport smoother and easier. Several airlines have their own mobile application as well. These apps allow the passengers to check-in, confirm their seats, and keep track of their flight’s status. 


While traveling on the road is pretty cheap and less of a hassle when compared to flying, road traffic can really be a significant issue here, especially during Thanksgiving day in November. Traveling during the holiday season on the road can be an almost impossible task. Just to be clear, the I-95 corridor on the East Coast will definitely be choked by traffic. So, those insisting on traveling by their cars must avoid this highway at all costs on November 24th and November 28th.


Keep Your Snacks Handy


Consider bringing along packed meals and snacks with you during the holiday season at the airport. You would not want to rely on those half-hearted airport meals available at various terminals during the time. This will come in handy, especially if your flight gets delayed or traveling with your children or have a huge clan. 


Moreover, most of the restaurants at the time might be half-staffed, all thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. You might have to encounter some extra waiting time or experience a few establishments closing earlier. It is always nice to pack something for your journey. However, one thing to note here is that you should be mindful of the TSA and all the airport carry-on guidelines for beverages and meals. Refer to your airlines’ website or support staff to ensure you are not violating any rules. 


Packing extra food also helps if you are traveling on a tight schedule. This potential detour to stop for a snack at an airport establishment can delay your travel plans. If you are in a rush to catch your flight, you should avoid the food court altogether and rely only on in-flight food and beverages. 


If your travel budget is lean, bringing your food will also help you save money. Plus, you would know your dietary intake, at least before you hop in and slice that turkey on Thanksgiving with an extra serving of your favorite mashed potatoes. 


Stay Safe. Stay Protected


Today, it is a federal law that any traveler above the age of two must wear a face mask while traveling on a commercial flight and in transit hubs. This also applies to wearing a mask on all other modes of transportation, trains, buses, etc. Everything falls under the TSA mask mandate.


You might have to travel for hours, away from your home, so staying protected and safe is of utmost importance here. Carry extra face masks and your personal protective equipment (PPE) with you in your carry-on. 


You will, of course, get a free PPE at your security checkpoint, but it does no harm to carry one, right? You can also rely on some vending machines in various locations that offer you an opportunity to purchase PPE and other safety items. In either case, you might not get the things with the best fit for you or the kind of protection you look forward to. Therefore, carry your own emergency kit while traveling long distances! 


Face Masks


Most people consider N95 and the KN95 face masks to be the most effective ones out there. So, for your travel plans during Thanksgiving day in November this year, be sure to carry a few extra N95 or KN95s. You might have to change your masks a few times during your long journey. And of course, how can we forget that you should swap your face mask every 4-6 hours as a general guideline. 


Hand Sanitizer


TSA allows passengers to pack a single 12-ounce bottle of hand sanitizer in their carry-on luggage. However, the usual 3.4-ounce limits apply to other liquids you might carry. So be sure you are carrying properly labeled bottles of your preferred liquid and your preferred brand of hand sanitizer. You can expect some extra time to be spent on checking your bottles at the security checkpoint. That’s totally okay! 


Disinfectant Wipes


Disinfectant wipes are pure gold right now. They are extremely useful and effective, especially in public spaces. You might get that perfect spot to sit and charge your device while you wait for your flight at the airport gate, but you do not know who was sitting there before you! Therefore, you can use your disinfectant wipes and keep the areas you use clean for your own good. You can use your wipes during your time spent at the airport, anywhere you stop on the way, and during the flight. 


In addition to these three essentials, you must also stay updated with the CDC travel guidelines at all times, especially when you know you are about to travel to another state or country. It is always a great idea to check your local and state guidelines for the destination you are traveling to. 



This Thanksgiving day in November might be your first “real” holiday since the pandemic began early last year. Follow this guide, bookmark it, share it with those who need it, and have a smooth traveling experience before gathering around your beloved clan to share beautiful memories and celebrate the blessings of life. 


Happy Thanksgiving to you! 



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