Your Guide to What Looks Like a Hectic Thanksgiving Travel Season

TSA expects to screen nearly 64,000 people on the busiest of travel days during the Thanksgiving travel period

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Thanksgiving travel is expected to ramp up this coming week at Boston's Logan International Airport, with nearly 64,000 travelers anticipated during peak days.

That's about 20,000 more travelers per day than at the same time in 2021.

The TSA has issued a warning for travelers, saying they should expect long lines at Logan, particularly next Tuesday and Wednesday, and the Sunday following Thanksgiving. In other words, pack your patience.

Many are expected to travel by road and air for Thanksgiving next week.

"We try to staff, especially for the busiest times during the holiday travel season as much as we can," TSA spokesperson Dan Velez said. "But there's going to be a backup with the line because of the amount of folks that are traveling."

Velez suggested that people arrive to the airport at least two hours before departure and have travel documents ready to go at security.

Travelers are also advised to use caution when packing a carry-on. Velez said people carrying Thanksgiving goods that contain liquids have to surrender them or or check them in cargo.

"If you're going to travel with food, keep in mind, if you can spray it, spread it, spill it, pump it, or pour it, it has to be in your checked bag," Velez said. "Those items cannot be, because of liquid rules, in your carry-on bag."

Velez also issued some guidance about traveling with guns.

Demand is growing and prices are skyrocketing for travel ahead of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

"Firearms can only travel in checked backs," he said. "[They] must be declared to the airline you're traveling with. They must be locked, unloaded and placed in a hard-sided case so that they are completely inaccessible."

A record 26 guns were improperly secured at Logan this year, according to the TSA. The penalties could include losing pre-check privileges and fines up to $14,000.

Another tip to help accelerate the security check process is to place all of your loose items like watches, phones, keys or wallets in your carry-on bag. That will also help prevent misplacing some of those belongings when you go to retrieve them.

Record Numbers Expected to Hit the Roads

Roads and highways are also expected to be extremely busy leading up to and after Thanksgiving. Massachusetts transportation officials and AAA are warning that travel is predicted to near — or maybe even exceed — pre-pandemic levels.

At a briefing Wednesday, Massachusetts Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver said roads in the Bay State will be much busier than the last few years, and will possibly exceed the pre-pandemic levels.

Thanksgiving road congestion will actually begin Thursday, a week before the holiday, according to Gulliver. Roads are expected to be busier than usual into the weekend, and congestion will be "very, very heavy" Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons.

He noted that, where most people used to travel after work Wednesday, "we've seen that people are spreading out a little bit more," making impacting the Tuesday-before-Thanksgiving commute as well.

But Sunday will have "by far" the worst congestion of the week, as people head home.

The Department of Transportation released this calendar showing when to expect major delays on major highways between the Monday and Sunday bookending Thanksgiving:

This year will mark the third-busiest Thanksgiving travel period since 2000, with 98% of the volume compared to pre-pandemic years, according to AAA.

As for the best times to leave, experts say Thanksgiving morning before 11 a.m., or before 8 a.m. the day before Thanksgiving.

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