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Don't let traffic ruin your Thanksgiving

(iStock photo)

(iStock photo)


Rachel Schoutsen
Presenter, Beat the Traffic

Friday, October 11, 2013, 10:22 -

It's the best weekend in the fall, Thanksgiving. Who doesn't love a holiday revolving around pumpkin pie, fresh baked stuffing and gathering with the family? Those stuck in a travel mess, that’s who! 

The three-day-long weekend can leave drivers and passengers in a pickle.

Airports are jammed with people trying to make a quick trip to see family and highways also see more congestion, especially in the late afternoon as everyone is trying to make it on time for the 5 o’clock dinner. 

Train tickets are also a hot commodity this time of year. 

"Thanksgiving is one of VIA Rail’s busiest periods of the year," says Mylene Belanger with Via Rail. "All our equipment is made available to allow as many passengers to travel as possible. Needless to say, the earlier you book, the better your chances are of getting a ticket."


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Because Via is confined to how many trains can operate at a given time, Thanksgiving weekend is tough for everyone to get a ticket. 

"There are still trains available for those who have flexibility to change times and dates. For example, on Friday, you have a good chance of getting a ticket on the earlier trains. If that doesn't work, Saturday has always had capacity for traveling," Belanger says. 

Since many people have that extra Monday off, some Canadians plan to cross the boarder to visit family or start their Christmas shopping. Experts expect 30% more volume at crossings during long weekends and say a two hour wait can be expected. 

A popular trend for some is to do thanksgiving at a cottage or vacation home. This is why we sometimes see popular cottage routes jammed with traffic, similar to a hot summer weekend. Here are some travel tips for a stress free long weekend: 

  • Book train or plane tickets well ahead of time to avoid last minute disappointment.
  • If possible leave earlier, and fly/train home on the Sunday to avoid Monday’s congestion.
  • Pick a less popular driving route- make it scenic.
  • Use Travelers Network as a travel companion while on the road.

And for those of you who celebrate with a turkey- get it early! This is where we have seen some of the biggest traffic delays- in the grocery store parking lot. 

In 2011 three million whole turkeys were purchased by Canadians (Turkey Farmers of Canada). 

Now, if you don’t plan ahead, make sure you are the one breaking the wish bone! And wish for an easy trip home!

(iStock photo)

(iStock photo)

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