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Here are the best times to shop and travel for the holidays, according to Google data

Google sifted through its Maps data to give you the best times to shop and travel while avoiding sitting in traffic and standing in long lines.
Written by Sabrina Ortiz, Associate Editor on
Thanksgiving dinner food on a table
Image: GMVozd/Getty Images

During the holiday season, nearly everyone has traveling, shopping, and cooking on their agenda, making it challenging to get any of these things done. Google Maps has collected trends to give you recommendations on when to shop and travel to avoid the masses of crowds doing the same. 

Thanksgiving is around the corner, and that usually means feasts with lots of cooking. If you plan on stopping by the grocery store to buy dinner ingredients, Google recommends you visit the store on any Tuesday at 9 AM. 

During that time, grocery stores are typically the least busy in the US. If you can't make Tuesday, you may want to skip grocery shopping on Sunday at 1 PM, since that is the busiest time for grocery store shopping.

Also: Google makes massive commitment to support more languages using AI 

Are you planning on bringing a sweet treat to the party instead of a homemade casserole? To avoid the crowds, Google recommends you hit the bakery on Monday at 3 PM for the least crowds, and avoid going on Saturday at 10 AM. 

Now that you have all the food taken care of, here is when you should plan to leave the house for your Thanksgiving celebration destination: If you are road tripping, the best time to embark on your journey is Monday at 8 PM. Traffic hits its peak around 4 PM and 5 PM on the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving, so you might want to avoid going around then. 

If you have to start your travels on Thanksgiving Day itself, Google suggests you go before noon or after 5 PM, since you can expect the most traffic between 3 PM and 5 PM.

If you make it through Thanksgiving dinner and make it out of a food coma right in time for Black Friday shopping, here is when you should go: on Black Friday, traffic picks up at noon and peaks at around 4 PM across the US. 

Also: The best early Black Friday deals happening right now

If you are still determined to get your shopping done, Google suggests hitting the stores at 7 AM, 10 AM, and between 7 PM and 8 PM.

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