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With more than 109 million Americans expected to travel for the 11-day Christmas holiday, delays will be an unavoidable part of the 2021 experience, according to AAA.

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With an estimated 34% more travelers taking to the roads and skies for the 2021 holiday than in 2020, this means paying particular attention to routes and thoroughfares prone to bottlenecks when work-week traffic collides with mad-dash travelers bypassing the river and the woods for the interstate and the freeway.

>> Related: 109M Americans expected to travel this Christmas, AAA says

According to transportation analytics firm INRIX, major metropolitan areas could encounter delays that more than double typical drive times, while New York City drivers should plan to spend three times as much time in the car.

“With kids out of school and many Americans taking extended time off for the holidays, drivers will experience incremental delays throughout the week. Although congestion will be overall lighter than normal, knowing when and where major delays will likely happen will help save time and reduce stress this holiday season,” Bob Pishue, a transportation analyst at INRIX, said in a prepared statement.

In turn, INRX offered the following snapshot to help travelers better plan:

Worst Corridors and Times to Travel:

Metro Area Corridor Peak Congestion % Above Normal
Atlanta I-85 South, Clairmont Road to MLK Drive 3:45 p.m.–5:45 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 2 198%
Boston I-93 North, Quincy Market to Massachusetts Highway 28 1:45 p.m.- 3:45 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 23 155%
Chicago I-290 West, Morgan Street to Wolfe Road 3:30 p.m.–5:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 23 240%
Detroit I-96 West, 6 Mile Road to Walled Lake 9:45 a.m.–11:45 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 23 209%
Houston I-10 West, Sjolander Road to Texas Highway 330 5 p.m.-7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 2 195%
Los Angeles I-5 South, Colorado Street to Florence Avenue 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 2 194%
New York I-495 East, Borden Avenue to Little Neck Parkway 4:30 p.m.–6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 27 358%
San Francisco I-80 East, I-580 to San Pablo Dam Road 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 23 166%
Seattle I-5 South, Washington Highway 18 to Washington Highway 7 4:45 p.m.–6:45 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 28 215%
Washington, D.C. I-95 South, I-395 to Virginia Highway 123 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Monday, Dec. 27 270%

Source: INRX

Meanwhile, what time travelers strike out can make almost as much difference in their travel time as the routes they choose. According to INRIX, the following are the projected best and worst times to hit the road:

Daily Worst and Best Times to Travel:

Day Worst Time Best Time
Thursday, Dec. 23 noon-6 p.m. After 7 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 24 – CHRISTMAS EVE 2 p.m.-6 p.m. Before 1 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 25 – CHRISTMAS minimal congestion expected minimal congestion expected
Sunday, Dec. 26 1 p.m.-7 p.m. Before noon
Monday, Dec. 27 5 p.m.-6 p.m. Before 1 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 28 1 p.m.-7 p.m. Before noon
Wednesday, Dec. 29 1 p.m.-7 p.m. Before 11 a.m.
Thursday, Dec. 30 1 p.m.-7 p.m. Before noon
Friday, Dec. 31 – NEW YEAR’S EVE 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Before 1 p.m., after 5 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 1 – NEW YEAR’S DAY minimal congestion expected minimal congestion expected
Sunday, Jan. 2 2 p.m.-6 p.m. Before 1 p.m.

Source: INRX

According to INRX, the following domestic destinations top the 2021 holiday list:

  • Orlando, Florida
  • Anaheim, California
  • Las Vegas
  • New York; Kahului, Maui, Hawaii (tie)
  • Honolulu
  • Miami
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Tampa, Florida
  • Phoenix
  • San Diego