Thanksgiving can feel like the best of times and the worst of times. You have delicious food, football and family to look forward to, but you have potential travel nightmares, unpredictable weather and….family! While the vast majority of people who travel for Thanksgiving will do so by car, there may also be some delays at the airport.

AAA says Monday, November 25 is overall the best day to fly, while Thanksgiving Day is the cheapest day to fly. The AAA report predicts record-breaking numbers on the road and in the air this year. A total of 55.3 million travelers are expected to travel from Wednesday, November 27, through Sunday, December 1 by car, plane, train, bus and cruise ship. That makes for a 1.6 million-person increase from last year, the second-highest since AAA began recording data in 2000.

Knowing the best times to get on and off the road can certainly help to relieve some of that extra stress Thanksgiving stress.

Avoid Wednesday afternoon / evening.

The worst time to hit the road is Wednesday afternoon. If you plan on driving in the late afternoon or early evening (5 to 7:30 pm) around Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, Boston or Houston, your trip could take up to 3½ times longer than usual. Traffic peaks the night before Thanksgiving, with traffic looking particularly bad between 10pm and midnight. So if you can, avoid leaving during the traditional after-work hours

Prepare for Black Friday traffic, but not much.

Shopping on Black Friday? The morning after Thanksgiving won’t have nearly as much traffic as the holiday itself. You can expect to see traffic & accidents similar to your typical Friday-morning commute.

Come home from Thanksgiving on Saturday.

Eat, relax and then leave on this day to really beat the crush. Road conditions on the Saturday after the Thanksgiving should be similar to regular Saturdays. Those heading home on Sunday will be hit with gridlock along the way.

Worst Travel Times

Worst Time to Leave:

According to the AAA report 5:30-7:30pm on Wednesday, November 27 is when traffic is expected to be at its peak. However, Google data suggests that you may hit traffic congestion as early as 3 pm on Wednesday as people leave work early.

Worst Time to Return: The worst time to return home is expected to be 4pm on Saturday.

Best travel times:

Best Time to Leave:

Google says the early bird really does get the worm. The data says the best time to travel to your destination is at 6am on Thanksgiving morning.

Best Time to Return:

The best time to return home is around 6am on Saturday.