AAA is predicting that 42.5 million Americans will travel during the Thanksgiving week this year, up 4% from last year. And with airfares up 20 percent (plus all those pesky fees), more stringent security, cancelled, delayed and overbooked flights, 38.2 million of those Americans will be driving. That’s a lot of Buicks on the blacktop.
Whether you view it as a welcome tradition or guilt-laden obligation, the Thanksgiving road trip is an American classic. Over the river and all that. But just because you’re not dealing with the insanity of an airport doesn’t make driving a piece of cake (or pumpkin pie). Here are a few tips to take some of the kinks out of that long and winding road.
Let’s face it there’s going to be traffic. So if possible try to avoid the peak rush hours, like Wednesday afternoon and evening. If you can leave a day or two early, and if that’s not too much family face time for you, go for it. If you don’t have too long of a drive ahead of you, get up early and leave on Thanksgiving morning. The traffic is usually light and it can make for a mellow drive.
Or try an alternate route, like a state or county road. It may take a little longer, but the scenery is better and you’ll probably find it much less stressful than being on the Interstate, which can unknowingly take it’s toll tension-wise. This is also a good back-up plan in case of freeway wrecks and closures.
Make sure everyone is comfortable. Too many people and possessions crammed in a small space can cause not only physical discomfort but emotional trauma as well with all the whining and complaining. A good way to alleviate crowding is with the addition of a cargo carrier, like the StowAway MAX Hitch Cargo Carrier. With 16 cubic feet of storage space and 200 lbs of gear capacity, it comes complete with taillights, side reflectors, lock and weep holes on a swingaway or fixed frame.
Make sure you take frequent rest breaks. The act of just walking a little bit, even if it’s just to use the facilities or stretch out will significantly reduce stiffness in muscles and joints, especially in the “chronologically gifted”. And it helps keep those nasty blood clots at bay.
So now you’re ready. Get packed, load up and head out. Join that other 38.2 of your fellow Thanksgiving travelers and have a fun, and most importantly, safe trip.