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10 Thanksgiving travel tips families can be grateful for
The American Automobile Association (AAA) anticipates nearly 47 million Americans will travel away from home over Thanksgiving weekend, The Washington Post reported. Do these 10 things to keep your trek stress-free or as stress-free as possible. - photo by Payton Davis
Spurred by cheap gas prices, 47 million Americans plan to travel away from home over Thanksgiving weekend, according to The Washington Post.

"And car remains the preferred mode of travel for Thanksgiving," Luz Lazo wrote for the Post. "Nationwide, AAA projects that nearly 42 million people will get to their destination by car, an increase of about 0.7 percent over last year. The remaining travelers will fly or take other modes of transportation, including train and bus."

Even a slight increase in people on roads and occupying airports might wreak havoc on families' holiday plans but even Google Maps is trying to help travelers reach their destinations, Scott Stump wrote for Today.

The organization released travel tips Tuesday using data from Thanksgiving 2014, Today indicated.

So what are travelers to do this busy time of year?

For starters, keep track of traffic trends.

"The worst traffic day is Wednesday, except if you live in Boston (Tuesday), Honolulu, Providence or San Francisco (all Saturday)," Today quoted Google Maps' report as saying. "The worst time to be on the road on Wednesday is between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., so it's better to either go early or wait until after 7 p.m."

Along with noting busy times on roads, here are 9 more tips for families planning to travel for Thanksgiving.

Don't overpack

Travelers know not to haul too many belongings with them but that doesn't mean they won't, Sophie Forbes wrote for Yahoo Travel.

Traveling light especially proves crucial when flying.

"This should be obvious, but it never is," Yahoo Travel indicated. "You will have much more flexibility in getting on a new flight if you do not check a bag."

Utilize apps

Charisse Jones of USA Today writes that apps exist to make airport experiences less stressful: They usually list gate assignments, flight times and seat assignments.

Fliers aren't the only ones helped by technology, though, according to Vanguard. Apps aid in booking hotels, checking finances and keeping track of scheduled events.

Be an early bird

Not all people have the option of kicking off their Thanksgiving break early, but those who can avoid issues, Molly Jackson wrote for Christian Science Monitor.

"If it's not too late to change your plans, consider flying early," CSM reported. "Not just earlier in the week, although that helps: take the first flight you can find, before a day's worth of delays and cancellations have time to ruin your flight, too."

Consider alternative routes

"There aren't any undiscovered shortcuts during the holidays," the Post reported.

But Yahoo Travel indicated those of the "alternative" sort might be the next best thing.

"Don't just sit in traffic," according to Yahoo Travel. "Use an app like Waze to get you moving on a new, less trafficked route."

Think strategy

According to USA Today, multi-tasking proves key amid obstacles like a canceled flight.

"If your flight is canceled, contact the airline by phone while standing in line for customer service,'' Trish Bigler of Phoenix told USA Today. "If your flight is overbooked, look at nearby cities. Always have Plan B available to suggest to the agent. And ask nicely.''

Keep your wits

James Jay Carafano wrote for PJ Media people might forget potential dangers like identity theft during the holiday bustle.

That's why safeguarding devices before traveling, making sure passwords are unique and avoiding public Wi-Fi should remain top priorities even when arriving at a destination on time seems most important.

"There are few better ways to make sure that some creep will hack into your digital device," according to PJ Media. "Hotel Wi-Fi networks are a prime target, as are popular tourist attractions.

Account for the kids

Yahoo Travel indicated snacks go a long way in keeping kids from getting cranky.

CSM noted if treats fail to keep youngsters calm on flights, a generous option exists: giving nearby travelers "goody bags" to apologize "for any wailing that ensued."

Keep pets hydrated

Families taking furry friends on trips don't have to worry about summer heat, but they should pack a cooler, blanket and harness, Rachel Deahl wrote for Examiner.

And there's another common-sense but crucial tip: washing hands often.

"Salmonella poisoning is a real disaster to humans and pets alike," according to the Examiner. "It can happen after picking up after the pooch, it could be their feeding time and now those contaminated hands are handling their food."

Take advantage of airport offerings

New services at airports make time spent at them a relaxing aspect of a trip if travelers utilize the additions, USA Today reported.

"Many airports are upping their game, adding high-end restaurants, spa services and even amenities such as walking trails," according to USA Today. "Fliers may want to take advantage as they wait to board their flights. "

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