a group of friends gathering around a Thanksgiving table, toasting.

*Updated 11/17/2020

Thanksgiving this year is quite different from what most people are accustomed to with the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. Not only are travelers trying to figure out whether or not to visit their families, but many are also considering last-minute Thanksgiving travel ideas that are socially distanced. 

When Is Thanksgiving 2020?

Every year, Thanksgiving is on the last Thursday of November. The Thanksgiving 2020 date is Thursday, November 26. 

What You Need To Know Before Thanksgiving Travel

Coronavirus Travel Restrictions By State

Coronavirus travel restrictions vary from state to state, so if you’re hoping to get out of town for the weekend, you should check state travel restrictions. Another resource to check is the coronavirus travel advisory from the CDC, where they have a data tracker of the most recent COVID-19 numbers in each state. 

States that currently require some kind of self-quarantine (or more) the following:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Connecticut 
  • District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington

As coronavirus travel restrictions are changing daily, check each state’s official website for the most updated guidelines. 

Traveling Outside of the United States

Once again, it’s best to abide by the CDC guidelines when making plans for Thanksgiving travel. Tourists from the United States are still barred from many parts of Europe because of the coronavirus travel bans currently in place. 

Last-Minute Thanksgiving Travel Ideas

Thanksgiving travel this year involves many more decisions than what to bring to the family dinner. Between mask mandates, social distancing, and coronavirus travel restrictions, there’s still a lot of options available to celebrate Thanksgiving while staying safe. 

Stay In The City

If you and your family all live in the same city, hosting outdoor get-togethers like a bonfire or a picnic at a park are good options as outdoor gatherings are considered to be lower-risk than indoor events. To keep things even safer, each household can prepare their own food so there isn’t intermingling. 

Book A Staycation At A Nearby Hotel 

One way to feel like you’re celebrating the holidays this year is by booking a staycation. Rent a luxurious hotel or Airbnb to feel like you’re getting away without actually traveling too far from home. 

Zoom Get-Togethers 

Many families aren’t able to get together right now because they live with high-risk individuals. That doesn’t mean that Thanksgiving needs to be canceled. You can spruce up your regular Zoom call by mailing a Thanksgiving cooking kit to your loved ones and preparing dishes together.

Flying To Be With Family

If you found some great Thanksgiving travel deals and have decided on flying for Thanksgiving this year, opt for an airline that abides by the social distancing guidelines. Wash your hands frequently, wear a face mask, and try to keep at least 6 feet away from others. We also recommend driving yourself to the airport to reduce contact with others. You can save money by booking off-airport parking now instead of relying on on-airport parking. To get other Thanksgiving travel safety tips, the CDC has the most current travel guidelines.