Now that Thanksgiving is over, we can finally start decking the halls and spreading the cheer. There's truly nothing better than getting ready for Christmas, but there is one aspect of holiday planning that isn't so pleasant: travel. Between chaotic work schedules, scattered holiday parties, and the possibility of snow clouds looming above, planning your trip home can be a little stressful. However, adding traffic into the mix will make it even worse. If you're wondering when to travel home for Christmas break to avoid traffic, I have some good news... and some bad news.
Let's start with the good news. It is, in fact, possible to drive home for Christmas without running into bumper-to-bumper traffic. This will surely help you avoid unneeded road rage around the holidays so you can arrive home and greet your family with a holly-jolly smile on your face.
Now that you know the good news, we'll move onto the bad. The best day to travel home and avoid holiday traffic is on Christmas Day, according to Condé Nast Traveler. In 2015, the publication asked Waze to analyze traffic around the holidays, and they concluded that Dec. 25 is the best day to drive. Elite Daily reached out to Waze for updated statistics but did not hear back at time of publication.
I know, I know — this really sucks. The entire point of driving home for the holidays is to spend some time relaxing with your family before Christmas, too. Heck, I like Christmas Eve better than Christmas because you get to unwind and catch up with your loved ones. The last thing I want to be doing is spending Christmas Eve alone — but apparently, that'll help you avoid traffic.
Before you change your travel plans for the holidays, let's talk about the worst days to travel home for Christmas. According to Waze's past calculations, you'll want to avoid driving home for the holidays on Wednesday, Dec. 23, and Thursday, Dec. 24. Yes, this means you have some serious planning to do if you hope to spend Christmas Eve with your family, like me.
Apparently, the busiest time to drive on Dec. 23 is between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. So if you're able to get off work a little early that day, I'd hit the road around lunchtime instead of waiting until rush hour. This way, you'll be home in time to see the family, do some holiday shopping, and even bake some cookies before Christmas Eve.
If you're unable to start driving on the 23rd, you'll probably be stuck in traffic on Christmas Eve (no one wants that). Based off Waze's analysis, the roads are typically packed all day with a peak in traffic at night. In other words, if you're forced to drive on this day, try to leave as early as you possibly can. This way, you'll avoid super congested roads and be able to spend Christmas Eve with your family and friends. It's a win-win.
Overall, finding the best day to travel home for Christmas is bittersweet. If you hate traffic with a passion, then I'd suggest driving home early on Christmas morning. However, if family time means a lot to you, I'd say you should hit the road early on Dec. 23. It's your call, and if your work schedule allows you to head home before the chaos starts, then do it!
After your Christmas festivities are all said and done, you'll have to start thinking about New Years Eve travel. Might I suggest these awesome last-minute trips for NYE that you can take? They're sure to help make the end of 2017 extra memorable.
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