The 5 Worst Days of the Year to Travel

worst days to travel

We all look forward to the holidays. They’re an opportunity to see family and old friends, to relax away from the hustle and bustle of regular life or to see someplace new. What most of us don’t look forward to, however, is holiday travel. The time around holidays comprises some of the worst days to travel and particularly, the worst days to fly.

Although the actual time and expense of traveling on a certain day varies from year-to-year depending on a number of factors, here is what history shows – based on airline ticket prices, traffic patterns and related data – are traditionally five of the worst days of the year to travel, and more specifically, the worst days of the year to fly.

The Day Before Thanksgiving

While the days around Christmas can be bad, the day before Thanksgiving is tough to beat when it comes to the inconvenience and expense of traveling. On the day before Thanksgiving, you’ve got just about everybody, from college kids heading home for break to families going to visit grandma, flying somewhere, making this one of the worst days of the year to fly.

The Sunday After Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a nice break, but it’s no summer vacation. People have to get back to work Monday morning, which means everybody’s hopping on a plane on Sunday to fly back to where they came from. This creates long lines at the airport, overpriced airline tickets and heavy road traffic, making this another one of the worst days to travel.

The Fourth of July

No matter how bad travel gets around Thanksgiving and Christmas, there are almost always a few weekends in the summer that beat them out as the worst days of the year to travel. If the Fourth of July falls on the weekend, forget it. You’re in for some serious wait time to get to your destination. Plan accordingly.

Dec. 21

If you can travel on Christmas Day and still make your plans work, do it. Any of the four days preceding it is bound to make the list of worst days to travel. Unlike Thanksgiving, a lot of people make more of a vacation out of the Christmas holiday, so it’s not just the day before and the day after you have to worry about.

Labor Day

People enjoying the last gasp of summer often use Labor Day weekend to do it. That often means they’re coming back home on Labor Day, which means more traffic, more congestion at the airport and potentially higher ticket prices.

One of the biggest hassles of traveling on the worst days of the year to fly is parking your car. If you know you’re going to be driving to the airport and parking nearby on a big travel day, it’s very important that you reserve your parking in advance. If you’re going to Newark Airport, you can do this with SNAP online. SNAP Parking offers immediate valet service, secured indoor parking, and free shuttles to the airport, so there’s no headache involved. The rest of your travel plans may not go as smoothly, but parking is one problem you can put behind you right out of the gate.