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Travel tips to keep this Thanksgiving as stress-free as possible

More than 55 million people will be driving or flying for Thanksgiving in 2019, according to a AAA report.

BANGOR, Maine — ‘Over the river and through the woods’ – that’s how the ages-old holiday song goes. Traveling to get to a loved one’s home is a bit easier these days, but that doesn’t mean that the journey to a Thanksgiving destination isn’t still stressful.

The holiday week in late November is typically one of the busiest of the year for roads and airports. According to a AAA report, more than 55 million people will be hitting the pavement or the airways this season. That’s nearly a record since AAA started recording data in 2000 -- second only to the number set in 2005.

Of the people traveling, 35 percent will be doing so by plane. Roads and airports are expected to actually be busiest on the Thanksgiving Thursday.

In preparation for the influx of travelers, the TSA and local airport officials have put out tips on how people flying for the holiday can keep their journeys as stress-free as possible.

Arrive early

Nothing’s worse than trying to catch a flight running behind schedule. Airports around the country will be busy this week, so experts say you should prepare for big crowds and long lines – which means giving yourself two or three hours is probably a good idea.

Can food be a carry-on?

If you’re bringing a Thanksgiving dish to the table, or if you’re hauling home leftovers, make sure you know how to pack that delicious food. Items that are solid, like pies, cake, stuffing mix, and casseroles, can go in a carry-on bag – but any food that could spill, spray, spread, pump, or pour should be put in checked luggage.

Watch the weather

Badly-timed storms can impact your plans to fly or drive. If you booked a flight, make sure to track its status online to try to plan around any potential changes.

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Luckily for local travelers in Bangor, airport crews say they’ve been planning ahead for this busy holiday week – and expect that the Wednesday through Sunday rush period will go smoothly.

“I think everybody is certainly prepared. All of the airlines are prepared, folks here at the airport are obviously prepared, should we get any weather,” Tony Caruso, director at the Bangor International Airport, told NEWS CENTER Maine. “I think really what everybody is anticipating is more of a different mix of passengers (than) we’re used to. This is when we get (the) infrequent travelers, or (the) families that just don’t travel as often.”

For those traveling, any hassle is worth it in the end, just to spend the holiday with the people you love. June Jackson was traveling from Jacksonville, Florida on Tuesday with her husband to visit their married son.

“It’s just great to be with family and – I’ll cry!” June expressed, wiping away a happy tear. “I haven’t seen my son for a year and my daughter-in-law…so it will be great to be with them.”

She added that when it comes to busy Thanksgiving travel, the hundreds of miles don’t seem like that big of a deal.

“You do what you can to be with your family at this time of the year because that’s what you’re thankful for.”

To learn more about how to have as stress-free a journey as possible, visit the Bangor International Airport’s website or the TSA's website.