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Best days and times to avoid Thanksgiving traffic, according to Google

The best way to avoid stress during the holidays is to have a plan for everything. If shopping during this time of year is your thing, you need to know which retailers have the best Black Friday deals. Tap or click here to learn about Black Friday deals at Walmart, Target and Best Buy.

Once your shopping plan is in place, you’ve got to figure out your Thanksgiving travel plans. If you haven’t booked a flight to see family and friends yet, you’ve missed out on the good airline deals. Time for plan B — get in the car and hit the road.

If you’ve ever road-tripped for Thanksgiving, you know what a nightmare it can be. Don’t let the crowded highways ruin your trip this year, let Google help.

Google will map your Thanksgiving route

To help alleviate some of the anger and panic that comes with sitting in gridlock for hours, Google Maps recently put together a report on how to avoid traffic jams this Thanksgiving.

Google used last year’s holiday travel data to find the most popular places people visited. Now you can use that data to know the best times to be on the road if you’re visiting those destinations.

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Places people searched

Last year, some of the main holiday Google searches were fairly obvious. People looked for things like Christmas tree lightings, ice skating rinks, museums and iconic hot spots like Ralphie’s house from the classic movie “A Christmas Story” — which is in Cleveland, if you didn’t know

If you want to break down your search by city, you can. In its report, Google added a feature that lets you search for the top trending places in 25 U.S. cities, including Atlanta, Boston, Phoenix, Los Angeles and more.

There is also a chart breaking down the best and worst times to get things done:

This information is extremely helpful and can help you make it through Thanksgiving unscathed by massive crowds. It lets you know when to avoid grocery stores, movie theaters, bakeries and more.

When is the best time to travel during Thanksgiving week?

If you’re hitting the road for Thanksgiving, you won’t be alone. Tons of Americans will be driving across the country to get to that scrumptious feast at grandma’s house.

To keep your drive as carefree as possible, Google tells you when the best and worst times are to leave for that holiday road trip. For example, if you live in Phoenix, the best time to hit the road is 2 a.m. Wednesday, and the worst time is 3 p.m. Wednesday.

I know, I know, driving at 2 a.m. isn’t ideal, but if you’re looking for the least amount of traffic that’s the best time. After Thanksgiving, the best time to drive is 2 a.m. Friday and the worst is 3 p.m. Friday. Seems like a pattern is developing here, right?

But don’t be discouraged. There could be other times with less traffic that don’t include driving all night with a gallon of coffee.

Related: 3 new Google Maps features, 1 will track your speeding

Here’s another chart showing traffic levels during last year’s Thanksgiving holiday vs typical levels:

Again, 25 major U.S. cities are represented here, letting you know when to hit the road. If you do your research ahead of time, you can map out your drive to be as stress-free as possible. Click here to see the full report.

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