Since driving during the holidays can be stressful, we polled Americans on what they would do to get out of driving for Thanksgiving. As it turns out, many of us would go to great lengths to avoid the crush of traffic and stress that often come with Turkey Day travels.

Traveling on Turkey Day?

Ideally, Thanksgiving is a time to kick back and relax. A time to reflect on what you're grateful for in life. Like that drool-worthy green bean casserole your aunt makes. You probably get a day or two off work. The weather is cooling down, and you're finally enjoying that magical time of year fondly referred to as the holiday season. Cue the roaring fire and warm apple cider.

This is the destination. But sometimes the road to get there can be a bit stressful. Since everyone is traveling at the same time, roads can become extra-congested around the holidays. What if you could just skip the headache-inducing Thanksgiving drive altogether?

To answer that question, we polled Americans on how stressful they find Thanksgiving travel — and what they would do to avoid it altogether.

Over half of Americans are stressed by Thanksgiving travel

Last year, 54 million people traveled more than 50 miles for Thanksgiving. And according to the National Safety Council, there were an estimated 433 traffic fatalities. With such dicey driving conditions, it's no wonder that — when given a choice between "not stressful," "slightly stressful," "stressful," or "very stressful" — 52% of respondents think Thanksgiving travel is at least "slightly stressful."

Holiday travel stress affects everyone, but according to our survey, these effects appear to increase slightly with age. Forty-nine percent of respondents ages 18-34 reported feeling stressed, and that number rose to 55% with people ages 55 and up.

Avoiding the long drive

We then asked people what they would do to avoid a long drive on Thanksgiving. When given the choice, only about a quarter of respondents said they would make the drive if given the choice. The rest would prefer to cook the full meal themselves (with no help!), pay for a flight, or give up their favorite Thanksgiving dish. (Gasp.) And surprisingly, 18% said that they'd rather skip Thanksgiving festivities altogether.

Additionally, we presented respondents with a slew of rather unpleasant activities such as eating a large bug, giving a speech, sitting by a crying baby on a flight, saying everything you think out loud, and — the ultimate horror — exclusively using dial-up internet. Forty-four percent chose one of these drastic alternatives but waiting in line at the DMV was the most popular.

This year, make your Thanksgiving plans surprisingly painless

We get it, Thanksgiving can be stressful — but it doesn't have to be. If you're driving this holiday, here are some safety tips to make your trip surprisingly painless.

  • Always leave yourself with more time than you think you'll need. This will allow for bad weather and traffic. Plus, having the extra cushion in your schedule will leave you less stressed. If possible, avoid driving on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. Traffic is at its heaviest during this time. As a general rule of thumb, traffic is lightest early in the morning on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Make sure everything in your car is secure. Keep any dishes you're bringing (hot or cold) in an insulated container for food safety. They should also have tight-fitting lids to avoid spills. Properly secure pets with a harness or crate, and make sure the kids are buckled up and entertained.
  • If you'll be away for a few days, make sure not to announce travel plans on any public social media platforms. According to a cybersecurity study, 60% of millennials do it — but it's a flashing sign for burglars that no one will be home.

If you've decided to host Thanksgiving this year, congratulations! You get to avoid holiday traffic. However, hosting can have some challenges of its own. Here's how to make the day memorable for all the right reasons:

  • Don't walk away from a dish while it's cooking. If a fire starts on the stovetop, turn all burners off and cover it with a pan or lid. You should also have a fire extinguisher handy and know how to use it. If a fire starts in the oven, turn it off, keep it closed, get out of the house safely, and call 911.
  • Check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they're functioning properly. The stove can be a major source of carbon monoxide, so make sure to use your kitchen vents and open windows periodically.
  • Any guests that will be drinking should have a plan to get home safely. Make sure there are designated drivers assigned or offer to arrange an Uber to pick them up. If you have the accommodations, you may even consider offering to host them overnight.


This study consisted of three survey questions conducted using Google Surveys. The sample consisted of no less than 1,000 completed responses per question. Post-stratification weighting has been applied to ensure an accurate and reliable representation of the total population. The survey ran during September 2019.

This article originally appeared on Esurance.