Over the river, through the woods and stuck on the highway or in an airport before getting anywhere near grandma’s house?
It’s a very possible scenario this Thanksgiving as snow, ice, rain and winter storms are forecast for the East Coast from New England down through Georgia.
Winter Storm Cato will likely hit the east coast with gusto on Wednesday with the rain/snow line staying close to the busy Interstate 95 corridor,” according to The Weather Channel, so the consensus among travel experts is to leave now.
“If you can get out in advance of the storm today, do it,” said AAA spokeswoman Heather Hunter.
And if you can't leave on Tuesday, it may be best to wait. Instead, leave on Turkey Day when the roads are supposed to be clear, said Hunter.
Bad weather or not, AAA Travel predicts that almost 90 percent, or 41.3 million Thanksgiving travelers will be on the road this holiday. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is statistically the worst day to travel, according to data crunched by Google Maps.
If you must leave Wednesday, get on the road before 2 p.m. or after 7 p.m., to try to avoid the traditional 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thanksgiving rush.
After Thanksgiving, wait until Sunday to drive home. Post-Thanksgiving traffic can be 40 percent worse on Saturday, according to Google's data.
If you’re one of the 24.6 million passengers scheduled to travel globally on a U.S. airline during this Thanksgiving travel period, you may have to alter those plans.
In advance of the storms flights are being canceled and many airlines, including Alaska Airlines, American, US Airways, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, Spirit, United and Virgin America have issued travel waivers on their websites that allow passengers to change their flight dates or receive refunds at no extra charge.
Even if you want to take an earlier or later flight, the challenge may be finding one
“Airlines are at capacity this holiday season and there’s not much flexibility,” said Expedia spokeswoman Sarah Gavin. “But if you can get around the weather, and your airline has issued a flex policy, go for it.”
If your flight is canceled and you really need to get to grandma’s house, consider alternatives such as buses, trains and rental cars.
However, remember that Thanksgiving is the busiest drive time of the year. You may have to call several agencies to get a car, or look beyond the airport to a larger neighborhood location for availability, said Hertz Corporation spokeswoman Paula Rivera.
And if you can’t make it grandma’s this year, “make it an adventure,” said Gavin.
“Many gorgeous hotels in downtown business areas are empty during Thanksgiving because the business travelers aren’t there, so you can get some great last minute deals on hotels.”