This blog post was updated on December 17, 2021.
Let’s talk turkey: traveling around Thanksgiving has become something of a boogeyman for many people around the country. We’ve all heard nightmarish tales of trips gone awry — but how much of those horror stories are actually true? The fact of the matter is, there are a lot of Thanksgiving travel myths floating around out there. Want to know which travel tales you can ignore, and which you should take heed of before planning your holidays? We’ve gone ahead and fact-checked the biggest Thanksgiving travel myths so you can get your facts straight in time to enjoy the holiday season!
Myth: The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year
False. Don’t listen to the relatives cautioning you about traveling the day before Thanksgiving. Despite what many people believe, that Wednesday actually isn’t the busiest day you can attempt to head to the airport. While there is a significant spike in travel leading up to Thanksgiving, it’s the Sunday after Turkey Day that you have to be careful of; it’s consistently one of the busiest days for travel, as people head home to resume their regular routines.
Myth: You can’t use frequent flier miles during the holiday season
False. Take this myth with a grain of salt, though. While it’s very true that you can’t use frequent flier miles on sold-out flights, there are usually quite a few options available during the Thanksgiving season. Find out if your frequent flier miles are viable, then look to websites that track airlines that are accepting them for the time you’re looking to travel. Your options might be a bit limited if you’re looking for a last minute flights to an exotic locale, sure, but with some patience and planning you can definitely use your frequent flier miles to travel this Thanksgiving!
Myth: Your flight is more likely to be delayed on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year
False. This myth has, no doubt, gained steam from the increase in people flying around Thanksgiving, leading to the illusion of longer lines and lengthy delays. But the good news is that traveling on Thanksgiving doesn’t imply you’re dooming yourself to endless hours stuck in the airport. Reports indicate that delays on Thanksgiving remain decidedly average. So while you might spend some time cooling your heals waiting for your flight, odds are you’ll be on your way before you know it!
You may also like: 7 Thanksgiving Travel Tips to Make Your Holiday Stress-Free
Myth: Gas prices go up around Thanksgiving
False. Those who prefer to hit the road instead of the airport come Thanksgiving can rest easy; despite what many people believe (and repeat to anyone who cares to listen), the truth of the matter is that gas prices actually shown a habit of decreasing in the weeks around Thanksgiving. That will be music to your wallet as you buckle up for that family road trip!
Myth: There are no last-minute flight deals around Thanksgiving
False. While many people like to play it safe and ensure they’ve booked flights and hotel rooms months in advance, you can often get an amazing deal just by cutting it a bit closer to your date of travel. Many airlines and websites hold out until the very last moment before dropping deep discounts on travel, including Thanksgiving flights and hotel accommodations. That being said, remember that there are plenty of other would-be travelers out there hunting for the best Thanksgiving travel deals. If you’re hoping to travel for less during this busy time you’re going to have to rely on patience, determination, and a little bit of luck.
Myth: You can’t bring outside food on an airplane
False. If you’re looking to bring back some leftovers from the family gathering this Thanksgiving (or are responsible for delivering a batch of your famous cookies to the dinner table), you’re in luck! Many foods are actually allowed on airlines — with a few exceptions, of course. Generally speaking, the TSA expects your food to be clearly wrapped or in a container, and liquids (like soup and gravy) are pretty much a no-go. So, even before browsing cheap flights in November for your Thanksgiving trip, be sure to check an updated list of approved foods to know in advance what you can bring on the flight. And remember, when in doubt, leave it at home. It’s not worth getting held up at a security checkpoint over some mashed potatoes, after all!
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