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Phil & Mel In The Morning

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With our kitchen under renovation, my family and I will be hitting the road this Thanksgiving to spend the holiday with my in-laws in Fuquay-Varina. The key to any holiday driving is knowing when the traffic will be lightest. Google can help.

According to Google Maps, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving between 3:00 and 4:00 PM is the worst time to start driving. If you haven’t started your journey earlier than that, you’re better off waiting until the following morning. Yes, it’s better to drive on Thanksgiving Day itself than the afternoon before. Traffic clears up significantly by 6:00 AM Thursday morning.

When it’s time to head back home, Google Maps suggests that you avoid the Friday or Sunday afternoon rush. Instead, try to leave in the morning when there are far fewer cars on the road.

It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without multiple shopping trips. If you hate crowds, stay away from any and all stores on Wednesday evening. As a veteran of the lines at Honey Baked Ham, I can’t emphasize that enough. Here are some guidelines to help you keep your sanity:

Supermarket

Best time: Tuesday at 9:00 PM (least crowded)
Worst time: Wednesday at 5:00 PM (most crowded)

Bakery

Best time: Tuesday at 7:00 PM (least crowded)
Worst time: Wednesday at noon (most crowded)

Liquor store

Best time: Tuesday at 10:00 PM (least crowded)
Worst time: Wednesday at 6:00 PM (most crowded)

Movie theater

Best time: Tuesday at 11:00 AM (least crowded)
Worst time: Tuesday at 6:00 PM (most crowded)

Mall/Shopping center

Best time: Thursday (Thanksgiving day) at 7:00 AM (least crowded)
Worst time: Wednesday at 4:00 PM (most crowded)

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And finally, the best time to shop on Black Friday is at 7:00 AM. The worst time is 3:00 PM. May the odds be ever in your favor.