5 steps to help you avoid Thanksgiving travel frustration



The coming weeks are filled with two-week periods for the Thanksgiving travel rush, and those folks traveling on Friday are preparing for a nightmare of delays and congestion, with 50 percent of holiday travelers anticipating some kind of travel incident.

The holidays that fell on Thanksgiving or Christmas in 2017 cost airline and rental car companies between $1.3 billion and $1.7 billion in extra expenses, and now the costs of dealing with Thursday’s rush to leave could be even higher.

The Post’s latest Backseat Report looks at a few of the steps that will help put travelers in a better travel state of mind.

1. Prepare ahead

Make sure your budget is conservative and you don’t stray from travel plans as the busy travel periods approach. In 2017, travelers spent an average of $941 on holiday fares, the most since 2012, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Fares over $1,000 increased 30 percent during the 2017 holiday travel season, while cost of rooms at hotels rose 11 percent from 2016.

Work out at least an approximate route ahead of time and pack your essentials — such as a back-up pack of your favorite snacks, extra pairs of shoes or important paperwork — in the event you can’t make it. Be prepared and be patient with a needlessly convoluted event.

2. Forget about yesterday

If you booked your Thanksgiving travel six months ago and you already haven’t arrived at your destination, buckle up and keep your hope up. On top of increased airfare and hotel prices, ground transportation costs have increased in recent months.

There is, however, an upside to this situation.

Due to the adjustment of Thanksgiving travel dates, you can purchase now at a cheaper price and wait until the following week to travel. You can also still score Thanksgiving packages — airfare and hotel for Thanksgiving for hotels in the Washington area — or a more substantial deal on Thanksgiving Day instead of flying to your destination on Thanksgiving Day.

3. Stay in touch

Avoid making day-of-travel phone calls and communication with family and friends is paramount. Texting allows you to conserve your data, and you can confirm your flight status with your family without checking email.

4. Prepare for delays

This year, the Thanksgiving travel rush will likely be felt Friday afternoon through Monday night in both the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions.

The following day, Saturday, Oct. 27, air traffic control centers close and traffic flows into and out of airports will slow.

On the morning of Monday, Oct. 28, fog on the East Coast will increase visibility problems for ground transportation in the area. Expect delays on Monday and Tuesday in the Washington area, followed by Tuesday night flights being affected by congested airspace.

The following week, on Sunday, Nov. 3, flight delays are likely in Washington and up the East Coast in New York City and Philadelphia, and expect service disruptions throughout the Northwest.

5. Celebrate in the moment

Keep updated on things on social media to spread the word that everyone to a warmer destination, even if the weather isn’t cooperating. Avoid connecting online if you can, or better yet, book trips during the weekdays — traffic into and out of airports won’t be as hectic.

It’s also a good idea to plan a social event where you all can be together on the week leading up to Thanksgiving. Make time to tell others where you are, how you are doing and where you plan to go so everyone can be in a better state of mind.

Jessica Ketchum is a writer and editor at The Post.

Have a tip about air travel? Contact Jessica.

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