With the holiday season fast approaching, Google has released data to help people navigate traffic and crowds more efficiently.
Analyzing trends from last year’s holidays, Google published a blog post highlighting the optimal times to travel, shop, and run errands.
“Whether you’re hitting the road early or heading out on Thanksgiving day, we looked at traffic patterns to help plan your trip,” writes Google’s Madison Gouveia in the blog post.
Thanksgiving Travel Tips
Google recommends departing on Monday or Tuesday around 8 p.m. local time for those driving before Thanksgiving. Avoid the peak traffic period on Tuesday and Wednesday from 4-5 p.m.
On Thanksgiving Day, the best strategy is to leave before noon or after 4 p.m. to miss the peak congestion between 1-4 p.m.
“Heading out on Thanksgiving day? Hit the road before noon or after 4 p.m. and it’s all gravy,” Gouveia said. “Avoiding the roads between 1-4 p.m. will be the tur-key to a stress-free drive.”
For Black Friday shopping, beat the heaviest crowds by avoiding peak traffic between 3-4 p.m. The lightest traffic is typically before noon and after 7 p.m.
Holiday Shopping & Errands
Google’s data revealed the best and worst times to run essential errands and shop during the holidays.
For airports, aim to arrive on Fridays around 7 p.m. or Mondays around 3 p.m. to avoid the Saturday morning rush at 11 a.m.
Visiting bakeries on Mondays at 9 a.m. will likely have the shortest lines. Grocery stores are least crowded on Mondays at 8 p.m.
Target Fridays around 2 p.m. to mail packages when post office lines are shorter. For shopping centers and malls, Thursday nights around 8 p.m. are ideal, but avoid Saturday afternoons between 1-2 p.m.
“No matter how you’re celebrating this holiday season, Google Maps is here to help,” Gouveia said.
By avoiding peak congestion times on roads and at businesses, you can save time, reduce stress, and have a happier holiday season.