In the United States, the number one travel period has the Thanksgiving weekend. More people make the effort to connect with family and friends for this holiday more than any other. People travel by cars, trains and planes for this extended weekend.
Growing up in suburban New Jersey, my family mostly stayed home, hosting extended family from Boston. Watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on television in our pajamas while eating fancy pancakes was a standard holiday starter, with our large meal coming around 5pm. Most years it was a turkey, but there were experiments with salmon, duck and goose on occasion.
Often when I am traveling to see family for this holiday, I book my travel for Thanksgiving morning. Often it’s much less crowded to fly on the actual Thanksgiving Thursday than anytime on the preceding Wednesday or Tuesday night even, with the majority of people having already traveled to their destination before the holiday day. If your family does their big meal later in the day on Thursday, definitely think about using that morning a less-frazzled travel opportunity.
When I lived in San Francisco, I used public transit and often had to note special schedules and timing for holiday travel. Also, this is one day of the year when traditionally the most Chinese restaurants are closed as so many people don’t eat out on this one day. As it’s the one day a year when the most people have the day off, many Chinese-American families use this day for having weddings.