Tips to help you avoid traffic, crowds this Thanksgiving

Make more time for turkey and family with Google Maps


There's no place like home for the holidays. That's why Google Maps is offering some useful tips and information that you may not know about to help you avoid traffic and crowds over Thanksgiving weekend. 

As for when is the best time to leave for holiday travel, Google Maps says the worst time to hit the road is between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving.

Traffic clears up significantly by 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

To avoid the Friday or Sunday afternoon rush, Google Maps suggests leaving in the morning when there are a lot fewer cars on the road.

Check out Google's interactive site to search Thanksgiving traffic and search trends in your state. 

And if you plan on shopping instead of traveling on Black Friday, Google wants to help you with that too. 

There's a seldom-used feature inside Google Maps that will prove very useful. If you type in a store in Google, the results contain the directions, a phone number, hours, photos and reviews. But if you scroll past all of that, according to Consumer Affairs, there's a section called Popular Times, with live data detailing when the heaviest store traffic is and how long the waiting lines are.

Here's a list of holiday survival tips from Google Maps:

Search along your route: Search for places along your drive, such as gas stations and other pit stops, without going out of your way.

Share your ETA: Let the family know your estimated time of arrival without having to make a call or send a text. 

Remember where you parked: You can use Google Maps to save your parking location when you're picking up a last-minute ingredient for Thanksgiving dinner or doing some Black Friday shopping. 

Avoid the lines: Before heading to a restaurant, you can check the estimated wait time on Google Maps to make sure you’re not wasting precious family time by waiting in line.

Plan a group activity: It can be challenging for the entire family to decide on an activity. But with Google Maps, you can easily plan where to go as a group. Simply long press on any place to add it to a shortlist. Once you've added places, you can share the list with others and everyone can vote in Google Maps.

Airport maps: If you’re flying for Thanksgiving, use Google Maps to find terminals, stores, restaurants and baggage claim inside an airport.

Just make sure your Google Maps app is up to date before hitting the road.

About the Authors: