Ready for the busiest travel day of the year? Ready or not, it’s inevitable that the day before Thanksgiving will include record-long lines at the airport and headache-inducing traffic. We checked in with Foursquare to get their insights on Thanksgiving travel patterns. Looking at more than 4.5 billion check-ins from last year, Foursquare determined the busiest airports, busiest rest stops and even the busiest restaurants (see full list below for busiest hours). Hint: You’ll definitely want to avoid Atlanta’s airport, ATL, at 6pm the day before Thanksgiving!
Bad news? It’s not likely this year will be any less busy for travel. Good news? There are heaping amounts of comfort food waiting for you on the other side.
Some interesting overall Thanksgiving check-in trends to note:
A 48% increase in farm check-ins suggests people are heading out to pick their own turkey. Get your gobble on at these turkey farms.
Small Town Pride
Travelers returning to small towns are much more likely to check-in and show off their hometown pride than those from the big cities. The most popular hometown destination in the nation for Thanksgiving? Detroit (based on largest percentage increase of check-ins).
There is a 53% increase in rest stop check-ins during travel season. Nothing like a bit of caffeine and sugar to fuel a long drive.
Top 10 Busiest Airports
1. ATL [Atlanta], 6 pm, Wednesday
2. ORD [Chicago], 4 pm, Wednesday
3. LAX [Los Angeles], noon, Wednesday
4. SFO [San Francisco], 1 pm, Wednesday
5. JFK [New York City], 4 pm, Wednesday
6. LGA [New York City], 5 pm, Sunday
7. DEN [Denver], 6 pm, Wednesday
8. DFW [Arlington, TX], 4 pm, Sunday
9. LAS [Las Vegas], 11 pm, Wednesday
10. CLT [Charlotte, NC], 8 am, Thursday
Top 10 Busiest Rest Stops
1. Delaware Welcome Center Travel Plaza [Newark, DE], 8 pm, Wednesday
2. Buc-ee’s [New Braunfels, TX], 10 am, Thursday
3. Chesapeake House Travel Plaza [North East, MD], 5 pm, Wednesday
4. Ardale W. Feguson Welcome Center [New Buffalo, MI], 5 pm, Wednesday
5. South Somerset Service Plaza [Somerset, PA], noon, Wednesday
6. TravelCenters of America [Walcott, IA], 7 pm, Friday
7. Sideling Hill Service Plaza [Waterfall, PA], 1 pm, Wednesday
8. Lake Forest Oasis [Lake Forest, IL], 7 pm, Thursday
9. Thomas Edison Service Area [Woodbridge, NJ], 1 pm, Wednesday
10. Florida Welcome Center [Yulee, FL], 5 pm, Wednesday
Top 10 Most Popular Restaurants on Thanksgiving Day
1. Wicked Spoon Buffet, Las Vegas
2. Old Ebbitt Grill,Washington, DC
3. Hard Rock Cafe, New York City
4. Serendipity 3, Las Vegas
5. Junior’s Restaurant, New York City
6. Balthazar, New York City
7. Mon Ami Gabi, Las Vegas
8. Porto’s Bakery & Cafe, Glendale, CA
9. Be Our Guest Restaurant, Fantasyland, Walt Disney World, FL
10. Mike Ditka’s, Chicago
Methodology: Foursquare looked at check-ins from November 20-25, 2012, to determine the above lists and insights.