Avoid Thanksgiving Traffic by Checking Out Last Year’s Travel Trends

In theory, Thanksgiving should be one of the coldest days of the year; all you do is fill your face and watch on TV how tiny men run across a large green field. Unfortunately, this is just the part of Thanksgiving that we dream of, while forgetting about the reality of a family car ride from bumper to bumper to grandma’s house. However, this year we may try to avoid traffic using the Internet.

This information is courtesy of Google Maps, which has compiled trends from the 2016 Thanksgiving weekend based on the locations Google users most often asked for directions to, as well as when they asked. Their findings provide a hint of when to begin our journey to a hearty 1,500 calorie meal.

Assuming you are going to lunch somewhere that can be reached by car, Google tells you that you are more likely to avoid traffic leaving on Thanksgiving morning. People, as a rule, do not take extra days on this holiday, so on Wednesday from noon to evening the roads are closed. To avoid traffic jams on your way home, leave early on Saturday or Sunday, but be careful: Friday and Saturday nights are the busiest times to return.

Some of the fun trends noted by Google revolve around the places people usually visit when the whole family gets together. You’ve finished eating and you may have three weekends left! What do you do besides researching Black Friday deals? What people are looking for paints a real picture of booth fever:

According to historical Google Maps search data, the most popular destinations during the Thanksgiving season are ham shops, shopping malls, forest farms, natural sites (such as outdoor activities), and electronics stores.

Ah, would a trip home be complete without a visit to the ham? It might be a cultural thing that I’m not familiar with and everyone goes and buys ham after eating a turkey in their hometown – I don’t know. But Google Maps also provides an interactive map where you can more accurately search for trends in your city, check traffic, and figure out the best times to visit your local ham store, bowling alley, or lingerie store. Plan ahead so you can politely leave at the right time with a bag full of leftover food.


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