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If You Have to Travel for Thanksgiving, Here Are the Exact Best and Worst Times to Do It

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Traveling around the holidays is always a complicated feat, compounded by traffic, airport congestion and, of course, grandma holding you up to sneak that last box of leftovers into your carry-on. But if you plan ahead and try to travel at certain off-hours, you might just get through this holiday weekend without stress . . . well, without delay, anyway.

Google has harnessed their Google Maps traffic data from years past to calculate when you’re least likely to encounter a sea of tail lights in your travels. Unsurprisingly, the worst time to get on the road is 3p.m. on Wednesday, when everyone thinks they’re sneaking out early, ahead of the commuting masses. After the holiday, avoid heading back home at 4 p.m. on Saturday. It’s the most popular, and thus least enjoyable time to travel.

RELATED: Table Setting 101: Here’s How to Set a Thanksgiving Table that Will Impress Even Your In-Laws

Courtesy Google

According to Google’s graphic, the best way to beat the rush is to head to your host’s on Sunday morning if you can swing it. They suggest 6 a.m. The ideal time to return? Just after you wake from your Turkey Day food coma: 6 a.m. Friday morning.

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Courtesy Google

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If you’ve been blessed with the task of picking up or dropping off loved ones at the airport. Make sure to take a peek at the best times to get to the countries five busiest airports. Google notes that cities with major airports see traffic that’s up to 60% worse than a regular day around the holidays.

And while we’re at it, you should probably bookmark this page for Christmas, because avoiding traffic is something to be thankful for all season long.