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Thanksgiving 2017: The best and worst times to drive and fly this Thanksgiving


Fiza Pirani, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

To ensure you make smart travel plans this November holiday, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reached out to popular navigation app Waze for national historical traffic data to determine the best and worst days to be on the move around Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, Nov. 23).

The AJC also incorporated Google Flights historical data, which was shared on the company blog in October.


Best and worst times to drive

If you’re driving, the best time to hit the road is 6 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 19, according to Google.

>> RELATED: Police surprise drivers with Thanksgiving turkeys instead of traffic tickets

Between Sunday and up until 3 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 22, traffic will get progressively worse.

But Waze data shows 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 21, is the worst time to drive for Thanksgiving, especially if you’re headed to the airport.

Using 2016 data, Waze found Tuesday navigations to airports are up by 50 percent and Wednesday navigations to airports are up by 66 percent.

Best and worst times to fly

Google data indicates Friday, Nov. 17 and Wednesday, Nov. 22 will be the busiest pre-Thanksgiving airport days. Try to avoid flying on these days.


Best and worst times to drive

Waze data shows the worst time to drive home after Thanksgiving will be Monday, Nov. 27 at 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.

But there will also be a spike of mid-day travel on Sunday, Nov. 26. Traffic will peak at 2 p.m. Sunday.

And if you’re headed to the airport Sunday, Waze warns that navigations to airports will peak at 4 p.m. and 5 p.m Sunday., so you may want to consider booking an earlier flight.

Compared to an average November Sunday, navigations to airports on Nov. 26 will be up by 53 percent.

If you’re flying back home Monday, navigations to airports will be up by 21 percent compared to an average November Monday, according to historical Waze data.

Best and worst times to fly

Google Flights search data from the past two years indicates that Sunday, Nov. 26 is one of the busiest days of the year to fly.

Google recommends booking a flight back home on Monday, Nov. 27, instead of Sunday.

Here’s more on the worst times to drive nationally around Thanksgiving:

The absolute worst times to hit the road around Thanksgiving
Source: Waze national traffic data based on 2016 insights
  •  Tuesday, Nov. 21: 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
  •  Wednesday, Nov. 22: 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
  •  Thursday, Nov. 23: 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.
  •  Friday, Nov. 24: 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
  •  Saturday, Nov. 25: 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
  •  Sunday, Nov. 26: 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
  •  Monday, Nov. 27: 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
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