Thanksgiving could be the busiest travel weekend of this year — here’s how to make the best of it

With huge numbers of travelers anticipated to hit the roads and the skies this Thanksgiving, we’re sharing how to navigate the crowds.

A plane flying over Austin-Bergstrom International Airport at dusk.

Skip the crowds — arrive early.

Photo via Tim Griffith

This year’s Thanksgiving travel could result in the busiest weekend of the busiest year yet at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Austin’s not alone. More than 55.4 million Americans are expected to travel between today and Sunday, Nov. 26 — the highest number since 2019 and third-most since 2000.

Today is expected to be one of the busiest days for travel, with ~49,000 flights scheduled nationally, so let’s dig in to how to make the best of it.


About 89% of travelers this year will arrive at their Thanksgiving festivities via car. Fortunately, gas prices currently cost an average of $2.72 per gallon in Texas, compared to ~$2.96 last year.

Steps for success

  • Avoid peak times on the road on the predicted busiest travel days:
    • Wednesday, Nov. 22:
      • Best time to drive: Before 11 a.m.
      • Worst time: 2-6 p.m.
    • Sunday, Nov. 26:
      • Best time to drive: Before 12 p.m.
      • Worst time: 3-5 p.m.
  • Above all, stay safe. Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Fort Worth rank among the most dangerous traffic cities during this holiday period.


Experts predict this holiday season will see the highest number of air travelers since 2005. With nine of the 10 busiest days in airport history recorded this year, Austin-Bergstrom International airport is also likely to see a busy weekend.

Steps for success

  • Plan your transportation ahead of time.
  • Get there earlier than you think. Airport officials recommend arriving 2.5 hours before domestic flights and 3 hours before international flights.
  • Coming home with leftovers? As long as it’s solid, non-liquid food, you’re good to go.
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