This year, the number of airline passengers flying around Thanksgiving weekend is expected to rise 2.5 percent from that of 2015, reported Travel and Leisure Magazine. For perspective, that's about 27.3 million domestic passengers. And everyone is going to have one thing in mind: getting to their destination as quickly as possible so they can enjoy the yearly turkey dinner with the people they love. And while the holiday may be all about giving thanks and sharing a meal with loved ones, it's bound to mean cramp, crowded airports, long lines at security and flights that are booked solid.
Savvy travelers know how to get the best deals on flights home for the holiday, and they also have a few tricks up their sleeves for dealing with airport congestion. Keep reading to get in the know and make your Thanksgiving travel plans a little easier:
1. Check in early
Many airlines allow you to check into your flight up to 24 hours prior to scheduled departure. Take advantage of this to avoid long lines at the airport. Often, you'll receive a boarding pass that you can display on your smartphone. All you need to do is scan the barcode displayed on the screen and head to the security checkpoint. This is especially useful to those who are only traveling with carry-on luggage. Even if your airline doesn't have early check in, look for kiosks at the airport where you type in your confirmation number and print your own boarding pass.
2. Prepare for extra stress
Go to the airport with the mindset that things will be crowded and slower than usual. If they aren't, it will be a pleasant surprise. If they are, you'll already be zenned out in your happy place. As you head to the airport, listen to your favorite music and think about the fun times you'll have at your destination. If you can achieve a little inner peace before you arrive, there will be stopping you.
3. Arrive earlier than usual
It's a good rule of thumb to arrive at the airport two hours early. But Thanksgiving is far from a typical travel weekend. If your local airport is usually crowded, prepare for it to be even more so and plan to arrive even earlier. At worst, you'll have a little extra time to hang out at the gate and have a drink before boarding.
4. Charge your accessories
When you're stuck in line, chances are you'll try to make the time pass a little faster by playing with your smartphone. Make sure it's fully charged before leave home, so you don't run out of power. The same goes for your tablets and MP3 players. You may even want to invest in a portable battery so you can recharge your device on the go.
5. Pack snacks, sip water
If you want to avoid the lines - and prices - at airport restaurants, pack a healthy snack to munch on while you wait to board the plane. This will keep you from getting hungry and irritable, and you won't have to give up your prime seat at the gate. It's also a good idea to sip on a bottle of water, as travel can actually be quite dehydrating! Don't guzzle it though, or you'll end up making several trips to the bathroom.
6. Bring headphones
Keep in mind that many families will be traveling around the holiday, and that could mean crying babies. A good pair of headphones will save you from having to listen to these upset passengers. Download some relaxing tracks, so you can catch some shuteye during the flight.