TRAVEL GUIDE: What to know before heading to your Thanksgiving destination

Holiday Travel tips

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) – Millions of people will be hitting the road and taking flight as they head off to their Thanksgiving destinations.

More than 55 million people are expected to travel 50 miles or more for their holiday destination, according to AAA. The travel organization said it will be the second-highest Thanksgiving travel day since AAA began tracking in 2000. The record was set in 2005.

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is traditionally one of the busiest travel days, and this year many could face delays as winter storms threaten parts of the country.

TRAVELING BY AIR

AAA reports that about 4.45 million people will fly out to see loved ones for their Thanksgiving holiday, so be sure to pack your patience.

The winter storms out west have already forced hundreds of flights to be canceled in Denver.

Thankfully, the Thanksgiving outlook along the Grand Strand and Pee Dee is mild and there won’t be any storms to threaten the first part of the holiday. But for those traveling on Sunday, a cold front could bring some rain to our area.

The Myrtle Beach International Airport makes it easy for you to check your flight before you head off to the airport and also alerts passengers to how long the wait time is for security.

Some other helpful tips are:

  • Downloading your airline’s app so you can check-in ahead of arriving at the airport and be alerted to any delays or flight changes.
  • Make sure what you have packed is flight friendly. For example, roll your clothes up so you can fit more in your bag, don’t pack a ton of shoes (this could cause your bag to be too heavy), and make sure all liquids are less than 3.4 ounces.

DRIVING TO YOUR DESTINATION

AAA estimates that 49.3 million people will be piling into a car and heading off to their loved ones for Thanksgiving.

The organization says Wednesday afternoon is expected to be the worst travel period across the nation, especially in major metro areas. It partnered with INRIX, a transportation analytics agency, to project the worst times for drivers to be on the road.

“With record levels of travelers, and persistent population growth in the country’s major metropolitan areas, drivers must prepare for major delays,” said Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Although travel times will peak on Wednesday afternoon nationally, travelers should expect much heavier than normal congestion throughout the week.”

According to INRIX these are the worst times for drivers on Wednesday:

  • Atlanta: 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
  • Los Angeles: 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
  • New York: 5:15 – 7:15 p.m.
  • Boston: 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
  • Houston: 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
  • San Francisco: 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Washington D.C.: 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Seattle: 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Detroit: 5:15 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.
  • Chicago: 4:15 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.

To help with holiday traffic in the Palmetto State, the South Carolina Department of Transportation is prohibiting lane closures for highway work on interstates and high-volume routes.

Construction work will be halted starting noon Wednesday through 6 a.m. Monday.

Here are some other ways you can avoid a holiday headache while traveling:

  • Make sure you have a full tank of gas. You don’t want to run out if you get stuck in traffic or if you’re on a road with no gas stations for a period of time.
  • Make sure you have a phone charger and have your navigation on hands-free mode so you can fully focus on driving and not worry about trying to look at directions.
  • Have a plan while traveling of how you can limit distracted driving to ensure your safety and the safety of others on the roadways.

A study shows South Carolina's considered the fourth most dangerous state for driving over the holiday.

AAA says 750,000 people are traveling this week from across the state. With this, there’s fear from law enforcement that traffic-related deaths could pick-up over the next several days.

State Highway Patrol says last year, South Carolina had 12 traffic deaths during the Thanksgiving season.

“Right now, overall, the state is down on traffic fatalities. Unfortunately, this season with all the vehicles on the road, that has climbed in the past and we want to avoid that this year. The statewide initiative is target zero and unfortunately we have not met that this year but we want to keep it as low as possible,” said Cpl. Tom Vest with Myrtle Beach Police Department.

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