If this year’s over the river and through the woods seems like a trek too far, get ready—because the busiest travel day of the year is almost here. When it comes to when not to travel for the holidays, we’ve got you covered!
As if you didn’t have enough to do in the pre-Christmas rush, add in a day filled with travel to grandma’s house and you have a recipe for one very long car ride—and an overwhelmed mama. Luckily, travel agency and insurer AAA just released a report on 2018’s holiday travel stats and predictions to help take some of that traffic pain out of your life. Here’s the scoop so you can plan ahead.
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According to AAA, over one-third of Americans will travel during the December holiday season, or, to put it in perspective—a whopping 112.5 million people traveling across the United States for Christmas. The 4.4 percent increase of travelers over last year means that you may end up spending a lot of time rushing, only get stuck in traffic.
So when should you just stay home? Transportation analyst for the global mobility analytics company INRIX, Trevor Reed, says, “With a record-level number of travelers hitting the road this holiday, drivers must be prepared for delays in major metro areas—with Thursday, Dec. 20 being the nation’s worst day to travel.” And of course, avoid those peak commuting hours—in other words, leave super-early or well after evening rush-hour.
Even though Reed and AAA say Dec. 20 is the worst day to travel, some cities may have bigger driving back-ups on different dates. AAA pings Wednesday, Dec. 19 as the worst day for traveling in and around the following cities: Boston, Massachusetts; Houston, Texas; and Seattle, Washington. If you’re headed to Chicago, Illinois or Detroit, Michigan, it looks like Monday, Dec. 24 (Christmas Eve day) is a no-go. San Francisco, California travelers are likely to find the greatest delays on Friday, Dec. 21 and anyone in Atlanta, Georgia metro area may see delays on Saturday, Dec. 22.
Staying home this year suddenly sounds a lot more appealing!