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A look ahead at Thanksgiving travel

US Holiday Travel
Posted at 1:00 PM, Nov 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-23 16:00:45-05

This time last year, airports across the country were pretty empty, with many Americans just not willing to risk holiday travel because of COVID-19. Now, though, many folks are traveling for the first time since the pandemic began.

“I encourage people to travel and see their loved ones and take adventures and have a good time. Just be prepared,” said Robin Saks Frankel with Forbes Advisor.

This year, perhaps more than any, Frankel is just urging people to be patient.

The TSA is expected to screen nearly 20 million people during the busy Thanksgiving week.

The Monday before Thanksgiving was actually the deadline for TSA employees to get vaccinated. There are some concerns that could lead to staffing issues.

Airlines, like every other industry, are also dealing with staffing shortages.

Those companies say they’re doing their best to gauge how to staff flights. And many carriers are paying employees hefty bonuses to keep flights running on time.

While airports typically get the most attention this time of year, they aren't actually the most popular means of holiday transportation.

If air travel still makes you nervous because of COVID-19, health experts say a trip in a car is your safest bet.

AAA’s best estimate is that a staggering 48 million people will drive someplace for Thanksgiving over the next few days. That’s up 80% from last year, when so many Americans just stayed home.

As for the best time to hit the road this week, experts say to wait until after 8 p.m. on Wednesday.

If for some reason you still haven’t purchased a plane ticket for this week or you’re looking ahead to Christmas, experts say to try and pick travel days that are a little more obscure to save yourself some stress.

Regardless of how you get where you’re going, it’s shaping up to be the quintessentially busiest time of the year to travel.