We must be crazy.
We pay through the nose for plane tickets on the busiest travel weekend of the year, brave crowded airports and long security lines, and endure bickering kids and clogged highways just so we can sleep on a lumpy sleeper sofa and overeat. No wonder a recent Expedia survey showed that 42 percent of us would prefer to stay in a hotel rather than with our families when making an out-of-town visit during the holiday season.
Opt for a hotel nearby, especially if quarters will be tight. There's nothing like too few bathrooms to ruin everyone's holiday mood. There's room to spread out at Homewood Suites by Hilton (www.homewoodsuites.com) or Embassy Suites (www.embassysuites.com) at rates that shouldn't bust the budget, plus free breakfast. Check http://www.hotels.com or http://www.quickbook.com for deals.
The American Automobile Association says that more than 65 million Americans — a record number — will be traveling this Thanksgiving, with many of us making the trip by car. (Visit http://www.aaamaps.com to find the best routes.)
There's not much you can do about heavy traffic or bad weather except get your car checked before you go, stock up on CDs and audio books from the library, and remember to bring plenty of snacks. And wherever you're going, allow plenty of extra time.
You'll need even more extra time if you're flying. I can tell you from personal experience that airlines don't necessarily bump you to the front of the line if you're short on time. We've been chided for not getting to the airport earlier (we thought two hours were sufficient), and we missed our flight. We weren't able to get home until the next day.
Check the Transportation Security Administration Web site (www.tsa.gov) to see the latest rules for carry-on bags (remember: no liquids or gels that weigh more than 3 ounces), and be mindful of the weight of your other luggage (more than 50 pounds and you'll be assessed a fee). Don't be surprised if your suitcase gets lost, either.
Unfortunately, holiday gatherings are never like those warm and fuzzy commercials. But they're not all bad, either. There are those Kodak moments — maybe one or two — when everyone at the Thanksgiving table opines what they're thankful for this holiday, when the grade-schoolers help grandma with the stuffing she's made for the last 50 years, when the older kids teach the younger ones how to play poker, when the aunts and uncles meet the new baby.
Those moments are why we're willing to put up with the craziness that Thanksgiving travel entails. Last year, we traveled cross-country to be with the family; this year we're the hosts. And honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way, no matter how aggravated and tired I get.
So whether you're hosting or traveling, pat yourself on the back for making the effort. We love our families, no matter how annoying, and we want our kids to grow up with that sense of belonging, especially when we live so far apart.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Summary of a Morning Call article here.