Thanksgiving Travel and Airport Parking

Did you know that Thanksgiving is the busiest time of year for air travel? And because it’s such a popular travel holiday, that means you can expect long lines and lots of delays going through the security checkpoints. Along with a big dose of patience, it helps to keep these Thanksgiving travel tips in mind before you set off for the airport parking lot.

Timing is Everything

The busier the airport, the more time you need to allow to get to there and make it through the long lines. This means leaving your house earlier than you normally would; after all, thousands of others just like you are making their way to the airport, too, so traffic is bound to be congested. It’s ideal to arrive at the airport with at least two hours to spare before your flight departs.

Don’t rely on the airport parking lots to have a convenient space open. Particularly over periods of heavy air travel, it’s wise to use offsite airport parking so you can be assured of a spot and timely transportation to the terminal without any hassles or delays.


After you park at the airport and approach the check-in counter, expect a long line. If you’ve never printed your boarding pass and checked in to your flight online before, now might be the ideal time to give it a go because it will save you lots of time and aggravation.

If you can, travel light and don’t check any luggage. Just be sure your carry-on fits the airline’s specifications as far as dimensions and weight and that your liquids are compliant with TSA guidelines.

If you simply can’t travel without checking baggage, as long as you check in online the day before your flight, you’ll still save a great deal of time by being able to head straight for the luggage drop-off area. And depending on which airport you are flying from, you may be able to check your bags curbside, avoiding the crowds indoors.


Then there’s the dreaded security line… The best piece of advice is to anticipate the screening process and be prepared. That means wearing shoes that are easy to slip off, not taking anything through the security line that could warrant a closer inspection (jewelry, scissors, pocketknife, computerized devices, etc.), and ensuring that liquids in your carry-on baggage are small and appropriately packaged (this applies to beverages, too). Have your boarding pass and ID ready; you may want to purchase lanyards for all members of your family so these documents are always handy yet out of the way.

Thanksgiving is all about the food for most families, but if you want to fly with a jar of your homemade cranberry sauce or spiced apple cider in tow, forget it. Restrictions apply to these foods since they are categorized as liquids and gels; it’s just more hassle than it’s worth to try to bring your homemade holiday goodies on the plane – although you could put them in checked baggage if you’re adamant about bringing them.

If you are one of the millions of people expected to fly over the Thanksgiving holiday, use these air travel tips to make your experience more pleasant and less time-consuming. And do remember to be patient; everyone else at the airport wants to enjoy their holiday, too.