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Thanksgiving meal

Thanksgiving is right around the corner — only 4 days away! Are you ready? If you’re still racking your brain for what to cook or how to prepare the ever-popular sides of stuffing, mac ‘n’ cheese or the main event: the bird, here are a few tips and recipes from chef and host of Bizarre Foods America, Andrew Zimmern, and chef and host of No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain.

 Thanksgiving turkeyAnthony Bourdain’s Thanksgiving Tips

“The breast takes more time to cook than the legs. Take off the legs, and place them in a separate pan. Butter under the skin, and add salt and crushed pepper. No garlic!”

“Make the stuffing on the side, and don’t include it in the cavity of the turkey. Do this to avoid bacteria (salmonella), which will drain off the bird and into the stuffing.”

Get Recipes from Anthony Bourdain

Macaroni and Cheese Andrew Zimmern’s Alternative Thanksgiving Recipes

Andrew Zimmern definitely knows his way around a kitchen, so we wouldn’t steer you wrong by suggesting that you try his divine recipe for mac ‘n’ cheese, a great side dish for Thanksgiving Day. But if eating turkey isn’t your “thing,” then try Andrew’s braised rabbit or something spicy, like Asopao de Pollo y Mariscos, a chicken, shrimp and rice stew!

Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about the second most important meal of the day: dessert. Keep it traditional with Andrew’s recipe for pumpkin pie.

Try all of Andrew Zimmern’s Recipes

Head over to our sister site, FoodNetwork.com for even more Thanksgiving Day tips and tricks.

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year — for the first time in 95 years — Thanksgiving and Hanukkah will be celebrated on the same day … and it wont happen again until 2070.

As if navigating the airport around Thanksgiving wasn’t enough of a nightmare … this year Hanukkah falls into the mix, adding to the travel headache. But fret not; we’ve got you covered with our best tips to help you fly through the airport this holiday season. And if you’re looking for a way to avoid a Thanksgiving-float-sized meltdown, don’t forget to check out our Top 10 Survival Tips for Holiday Travel.

So whether you’re sitting around the table with your family enjoying turkey and cranberry sauce, or standing around the menorah lighting the Hanukkah candles,  remember that there is plenty to be thankful for this holiday season … and that you’ll have to wait another 57 years until the next Thanksgivukkah!

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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:

Turkey Pickin’
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).

Pit Stops
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.

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Photography by John Moore/Getty Images

Think the only way to avoid an airport meltdown during the holidays is to stay home? Fear not, it is possible to snag a cheap flight during the holidays, breeze through long airport lines, keep the kids happy during the entire flight, and not lose your cool (or dignity) in security.

We asked an air travel expert, Mark Drusch, Chief Supplier Relations Officer for CheapOair.com, to reveal his secrets for flying through the airport during the holidays. With over 20 years of experience in executive airline roles, Drusch shared with us his forecast for the holiday travel season, how to glide through security lines, and what he never gets on a plane without.

So before you take off this holiday season, take in Drusch’s expert travel advice:
Traveling Type: What’s your forecast for this holiday travel season? What trends are you seeing?
Mark Drusch:  Higher traffic than last year, however the peak days (Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and the Sunday and Monday after) may be marginally less full because the other days around the holiday are seeing very strong traffic. But planes will still be very full. We see an increase in customers celebrating their Thanksgiving in vacation spots, particularly the Caribbean, Mexico and Costa Rica.

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Courtesy of Thinkstock

Good luck on trying to find last-minute deals for any holiday travel this year. Pauline Frommer, editorial director of Frommer’s Guidebooks, says, “This is probably going to be the highest-priced holiday fares we’ve seen in the last decade.”

The average ticket cost for the US and Caribbean is already up 9.4% over last Thanksgiving. Prices for Christmas week are up more than 7% to an average of $337.

What’s the reason behind the airfare hike this year? Travel experts blame it on mergers and consolidated airlines over the past couple years, which has forced some carriers to cut back on flights to many cities. This is the first time that planes are flying at 85% load factor — essentially full — since 1945. And today, more people are competing for fewer seats.

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We asked, and you Instagrammed! See where our fans traveled this Thanksgiving. From Cape May to Vegas, Charleston and Asheville, this year Travel Channel fans encountered both long (and non-existent!) airport security lines, plenty of traffic and some impressive foliage. It even looks like a few furry friends joined in the Thanksgiving travel madness — see the full gallery here.

2) @travelchannel Spending the holiday in Newport, Rhode Island #turkeytravel -courtneybradley 3) On the road again. Headed to Charleston for Thanksgiving. #airstream#airstreamintherearview #malimishintherearview #turkeytravel -malimish_airstream 4) Went from Tulsa Ok to the beautiful Texas Hill Country #turkeytravel -fritzante 5) Zero security line at Reagan airport! #turkeytravel -alleesangiolo 6) On the road again.. -digitalboombox 7) Happy thanksgiving from Montana! #cows #turkeytravel#almostgothitbyadeeronmyrun -klcp33 8) Hello #ocean#TurkeyTravel #grateful -valeriekremer 9) #btv #turkeytravel -benlens 11) #TurkeyTravel w/ Mardis Gras beads -smallestpepper 12) #washingtondc #turkeytravel -jifferalderman 13) #turkeytravel #travelchannel #literally -heymandababy 14) Chasing waterfalls #asheville #turkeytravel #roadtrip#waterfall -nikolerucker 15) Chesapeake Bay Bridge -ckmercier

It’s the busiest travel day of the year! We want to know: Where are you headed for Thanksgiving? Tweet or Instagram your Thanksgiving travel photos with the hashtag #TurkeyTravel and we’ll feature our favorites on our blog. Whether it’s long lines at the airport, crazy traffic on I-95, or just a photo of your final destination — we want to  see them!

Turkey Travel

Thanksgiving Out

Not everyone is into the idea of slaving away in the kitchen on Thanksgiving, but everyone likes the idea of a warm, fresh Thanksgiving Day meal. There’s no shame is heading to a restaurant for your fill on this holiday. In fact, many restaurants are doing it up better than any of our grandmas could (no offense to Grandma). We found a few restaurants with special holiday menus that are making us second-guess a home-cooked meal.

New York City
There are plenty of restaurants serving a special prix-fixe menu on Thanksgiving in the Big Apple, but the idea of eating just steps away from the site of the holiday’s biggest parade is too good to pass up. At Picholine, Chef Terrance Brennan is serving a $115 prix-fixe menu featuring 4 courses including a choice of Amish farm turkey, beef, salmon, sole or wild mushroom risotto. With pumpkin bisque with black-truffle foam and a lobster and sweet potato appetizer also on the menu, how can you say no?

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Thanksgiving Traffic on the Road

Despite a troubled economy and high gas prices, more Americans will hit the road for Thanksgiving weekend this year, according to American Automobile Association.

This means that you or someone you know will join more than 38 million Americans on the road. AAA officials said that’s up 4 percent from last year and the highest increase in holiday traffic since 2007.

Over the last 3 years, families, who resisted traveling during the busiest travel season of the year, are more likely to rethink their decisions this year.

A recent AAA forecast said some 3.4 million — up 1.8 percent year-over-year — would fly over the Thanksgiving weekend, bringing the total number of holiday travelers to 42.5 million.

So before you hit the road or take to the friendly skies, be sure to check out our tips and info to help you prepare for Thanksgiving and the shopping crowds on Black Friday.

More Holiday Content:
Top 10 Survival Tips for Holiday Travel
Thanksgiving Travel Tips
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10 Luxury Shopping Spots
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