Chicago's Busiest Thanksgiving Travel Day is Here. Here's What You Need to Know

Expect traffic and delays whether your Thanksgiving travel plans include Chicago airports, roads or trains.

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It doesn't matter whether you're traveling by car, airplane or train — the busiest travel day of the year is here, and that means traffic on the roads, long lines at the airport and possibly delays.

And a new report found that Chicago is the top destination for domestic travelers this Thanksgiving. So even if you're headed out of the city, expect traffic on the roads, runways and rails to be pretty congested.

According to AAA, more than 53 million people are expected to travel over the Thanksgiving holiday. Here's what you need to know if you're one of those travelers today.

Chicago Airports On The Busiest Travel Day of The Year

If you're traveling through Chicago O'Hare International Airport, you're traveling through one of the busiest travel hubs for the Thanksgiving holiday, with 1.2 million passengers expected to pass through, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation.

288,000 are expected to pass through Chicago Midway International Airport.

Airport officials advise getting to the airport with plenty of time ahead of your flight. If you're ordering a Lyft or Uber, schedule the ride in advance.

2 States Added to Chicago Travel Advisory Days Before Thanksgiving

You can check O'Hare security wait times here, and Midway security wait times here.

Chicago Roads on the Busiest Travel Day of The Year

With more than triple the delays expected, Chicago is predicted to be one of the worst corridors for holiday traffic this week, according to AAA.

And Wednesday, Nov. 24 is expected to see the worst of it, as commuters leave work early to hit the road and mix with holiday travelers.

The worst traffic is expected on Wednesday heading into the holiday weekend, as commuters leave work early to hit the road and mix with holiday travelers.

The one window of time you should try and avoid today: Between 2:45 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. At that time, traffic on the roads is predicted to be 329 percent over normal.

Best Times to Travel For Thanksgiving in Chicago

According to AAA and INRIX, the best times for road travel are:

  • Wednesday, Nov. 24: After 9 p.m.
  • Thursday, Nov. 25: Before 11 a.m.
  • Friday, Nov. 26: Before 11 a.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 27: Before 12 p.m.
  • Sunday, Nov. 28: Before 12 p.m.

Worst Times to Travel For Thanksgiving in Chicago

  • Wednesday, Nov. 24: 12 p.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Thursday, Nov. 25: 12 p.m. - 3 p.m.
  • Friday, Nov. 26: 1 p.m,. - 4 p.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 27: 2 p.m. - 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, Nov. 28: 1 p.m. - 7 p.m.

AAA recommends checking COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map for travel restrictions near you, and to stay up-to-date on traffic and closures in your area. Here's where you can check gas prices near you.

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