For many families, going to a relative’s house for Thanksgiving is a tradition. It’s the same with worrying about when to leave. Not knowing the best time to hit the road can cause unnecessary stress and make your vacation less enjoyable. But there is good news – you can find out when is a good time to travel and what time frames to avoid depending on the day you decide to leave.
Additionally, if you plan to do your Black Friday shopping in stores rather than online, there are a few hours during the day when you’ll want to stay home to avoid the busy crowds.
Google released its forecast this week what traffic will be like in the week leading up to Thanksgiving and Black Friday. We will tell you when is the best time to plan your trip and shopping. For more information, here are some Google Maps tips to use when traveling on vacation.
The best and worst times to travel for Thanksgiving
If you’re heading out of town to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal with a friend or family member, you’ll probably want to travel when there are the fewest delays. According to Google, the best time to hit the road is the Monday or Tuesday before Thanksgiving, around 8 p.m
You should avoid traveling on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., when Thanksgiving traffic is heaviest. Not to mention, this is usually when rush hour traffic piles up leaving work.
If you can’t leave by Thanksgiving, make sure you leave before noon or after 4 p.m. Google recommends that you stay off the road between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m
Also, if you’re flying on a Saturday, add a little extra time to your schedule if you need to be there around 11 a.m. – that’s usually when airports are busiest.
The best time to go home is after Thanksgiving
If you’re staying with a friend or family member for a night or two while traveling, there’s a better time to leave to avoid getting stuck in traffic. If you’re leaving on a Saturday or Sunday, don’t even think about hitting the road between 3 and 4 p.m. unless you don’t mind traffic. Instead, try to leave around 7 p.m. or later.
This is the worst time to shop at stores with Black Friday sales
If you’re shopping for Black Friday, you can avoid the crowds completely by shopping online. Many companies place some of their best sales online, so you can shop from the comfort of your own home. However, if it is a tradition to shop in stores on Black Friday, there is a time frame during which you should avoid being on the roads. Peak traffic is between 3:00 PM and 4:00 PM, so you may miss the AirPods sale if you head to the store during this time.
Instead, Google says you should head to the stores before noon or after 7 p.m
Don’t go to the grocery store during this time
Still haven’t bought all the ingredients you need to make this special Thanksgiving dessert? You’re running out of time, but you can still do it. However, if you plan to leave on Friday right after work, don’t do it. Grocery stores in the U.S. are typically busiest on Fridays at 4 p.m. If you can, wait until late Monday evening, around 8 p.m
For more tips, check out our Thanksgiving cheat sheet for home and kitchen hacks. Here’s also how to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.