It's almost Thanksgiving, and for many, that means packing up the family and celebrating with relatives across the state, the country or across the globe.
According to AAA, 46.3 million Americans are expected to hit the road this Thanksgiving, up 0.7 percent from last year and making the fourth year of growing holiday travelers since 2008.
Before you head out of Birmingham, here's what you need to know:
The weather: Rain expected in Pacific northwest
The good news for travelers is that according to USA Today, the weather should make traveling easy this Thanksgiving, whether you're flying or driving.
On Wednesday, temperatures should hover in the 50's and 60's along the East Coast and Midwest. If you're heading down south, temperatures are expected to be in the 70's. The skies should be sunny to partly-cloudy throughout the eastern half of the United States.
The only place travelers may run into trouble is along the West Coast, with rain expected for San Francisco and storms along the northwestern cost of Washington and Oregon.
If you're staying in Birmingham and Metro Detroit, the weather forecast is partly sunny with a high of 57 degrees. Thanksgiving Day, meanwhile, is sunny and 57 degrees.
Gas prices: Michigan gas prices hover at $3.52 a gallon
If you're like the 90 percent of Americans who are driving this holiday, you may get a little break at the pump this year. According to AAA, the average price of a gallon of gas in Michigan is $3.52. In Metro Detroit, that average is $3.53, down from $3.56 a week ago.
Here are Tuesday's prices at gas stations around Birmingham:
- Citgo (33588 Woodward Ave.): $3.57
- Speedway (34750 Woodward Ave.): $3.57
- Mobil (36101 Woodward Ave.): $3.59
- Mobil (1065 E. Maple Rd.): $3.59
- BP (2483 W. Maple Rd.): $3.69
- Mobil (101 E. 14 Mile Rd.): $3.77
For more traffic information from around Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/mdot/.
Heading to the airport?
According to AAA, one in seven Americans typically travels more than 50 miles from home during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Not surprisingly, Wednesday is the peak travel day.
- Can I bring my turkey on the plane? "The short answer here is yes, though you might get some strange looks at security."
- How long do I really need to get through security: According to Brown, you probably need an hour for domestic flights. Speed things up by bringing only carry-on luggage. Detroit Metropolitan airport, meanwhile, reccomends you arrive two hours before your flight leaves.
- How do I make sure I'm not bumped from my flight: According to Brown, reserve your seat online when you book your flight, then check in online 24 hours before your flight. To check in at DTW, visit www.metroairport.com/airlines. When flights are oversold, often those who check in last are bumped.
- How much will it cost to check my bags: Most airlines charge $25 for the first checked bag and then $35 a bag after that for domestic flights, Brown said.
- What should I keep with me in case we're stranded on the tarmac: Keep a fully charged cell phone, all medications, water and a snack with you at all times, in addition to anything you need for small children if you have them.
In addition, DTW reccomends filling out all luggage tags beforehand and calling the airport's 24-hour parking hotline, 800-642-1978, to check up on up-to-the-minute parking information at the airport. To check weather and traffic at the airport, visit http://www.metroairport.com/traffic/.
When you get home: Temperatures dip to low 40's
Heading home the weekend after Thanksgiving? You may need to break out the heavier coat. Temperatures will be in the upper 30's and lower 40's on Saturday under mostly sunny skies. On Sunday, the high will be 40 degrees.