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The holidays are one of the busiest times for travel and this year is supposed to be the craziest yet. USA Today reports a “3% boost in passengers” for Thanksgiving alone, projecting “28.5 million” travelers will have a turkey to get to.

Luckily, there ways to protect yourself from the madness. According to the Cheat Sheet, Google Flights has calculated which dates will be the worst to travel this season thanks to data taken from the past two years, which means with a little planning you won’t have to spend Thanksgiving stranded in an airport, eating a sorry turkey sandwich.

Christmas airline travelers are processed at a Transportation Safety Agency (TSA) security checkpoint December 23, 2014 at Dulles International Airport (IAD) in Sterling, Virginia, outside Washington, DC, during the hectic holiday travel week. AFP PHOTO / PAUL J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
Christmas airline travelers are processed at a Transportation Safety Agency (TSA) security checkpoint December 23, 2014 at Dulles International Airport (IAD) in Sterling, Virginia, outside Washington, DC, during the hectic holiday travel week. AFP PHOTO / PAUL J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

The most important date to avoid is November 17th. Travelers should expect “long lines at the airport, flight delays or cancellations,” warns the Cheat Sheet. If you have any flexibility with your schedule, try and plan your trip earlier or later.

That said, the day before and after Thanksgiving are also on the “do not fly” list. So is November 26th, when USA Today estimates some “2.88 million passengers” will be taking to the friendly skies, resulting in delays getting home. 

As for Christmas, the worst travel days are December 22nd – 24th. These dates are precariously close to Christmas Day, and bring an onslaught of travelers all at once. Expect December 29th to be busy as well as tourists gear up for New Year’s Eve festivities. And speaking of the New Year, it’s best not to head home from your celebratory location until after January 2nd — which if that means another day on the beach, isn’t such a bad thing after all.

H/T: Cheat Sheet

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
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Intro APR on Purchases
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Annual Fee
$250
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