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7 things you need to know to survive Thanksgiving travel

If you're traveling over the Thanksgiving weekend, expect crowds on the roads and at airports.

You'll be one of 3.5 million Southern Californians predicted to be driving to grandma's house or somewhere else between Wednesday and Friday.

Or...

If you're traveling over the Thanksgiving weekend, expect crowds on the roads and at airports.

You'll be one of 3.5 million Southern Californians predicted to be driving to grandma's house or somewhere else between Wednesday and Friday.

Or you may be one of almost 2 million passengers who were expected to pass through Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) between last Friday and next Monday.

Either way, delays on the roads and at airports are inevitable during the holiday weekend.

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Here are some tips that might make the going (and coming) smoother.

1. Wednesday fliers: LAX is predicted to be the busiest airport in the country, but that's the least of your worries. A major storm expected to hit the East Coast from Virginia to Maine on Wednesday and Thursday could mean flight headaches for travelers across the country.

Accuweather says New England could receive 6 to 12 inches of snow starting Wednesday, the busiest travel day of the year.

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Many airlines are allowing ticket holders to change their flight date -- going earlier or later -- without penalty, but flights may be packed.

Keep in touch with your airline (via text or email alerts is one way) for up-to-date information on flights. If your destination is the Northeast and you plan to drive, Accuweather has compiled a city-by-city list of when you can expect to encounter the worst weather conditions.

2. LAX pedestrian map: Do you know your way around LAX? Several airlines have changed terminals, and parking lots 3 and 4 are under constructions (though they remain open).

Some walkways and elevators have been shut or rerouted as LAX continues its massive make-over. You can view and download the map  "Walking Terminal to Terminal Routes During Construction" that shows the best ways to get around the airport. And arrive early for your flight to allow plenty of time to find your way.

3. Double-check your carry-on contents: Even if you think you know what's allowed at Transportation Security Administration airport checkpoints, check the list to make sure you aren't bringing forbidden  holiday goodies.

Jam, jelly, gravy, cranberry sauce or your favorite home-made salad dressing --  leave it home (unless you bring 3.4 ounces or less). And don't even think about wrapped gifts or a bottle of wine.

Consider too that hand-carried pies and cakes could slow you down; they may require additional screening, according to the TSA.

4. Double-check your carry-on size: No one wants to check luggage anymore, but make sure your carry-on bags don't wind up costing you money as checked bags. Review the size and dimensions as well as the number of bags your airline will allow you to carry on board.

5. Wednesday drivers: You probably already know L.A. is bracing for the worst Wednesday road traffic in the nation.

If you can, avoid driving between 2 and 5 p.m., when delays may be the worst (3 to 5 p.m. being the worst of the worst time to travel), according to the INRIX Thanksgiving Traffic Forecast.

Portland, Ore.; San Francisco and Seattle, in that order, are predicted to be next in the worst-traffic lineup. Avoid driving in those cities from 3 to 4 p.m. if you want to try to avoid peak time for clogged roads. New York City comes in at fifth place with a suggested do-not-drive time from 3 to 5 p.m.

6. Low gas prices: California's gas prices aren't as low as the national average ($2.81 a gallon nationally, down from $3.28 a year ago) but they are much lower than last year.

AAA's Fuel Gauge shows that an average gallon of gas costs $3.09, compared with $3.56 a year ago. The price drop is likely to please the 5.65 million Californians who the Auto Club of Southern California says will be on the road this year.

7. Top Thanksgiving destinations: Southern Californians are heading to Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Diego, Grand Canyon National Park, and Santa Barbara and the Central Coast, Auto Club says.

If you're going to one of these destinations, make sure you book a hotel room in advance. The same goes for restaurants, especially if you're hoping to have a relaxing turkey dinner without having to cook.

Source:   Latimes

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