More than 55 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving. It's predicted to be the second highest Thanksgiving travel since AAA began tracking the holiday in 2000, trailing only the record set in 2005.
With so many traveling a long distance, there will be plenty of stops needed.
Frank Beard, a convenience store and retail trends analyst at GasBuddy, said a major source of stress for travelers is being unsure of where to stop when nature calls.
"They're out of town, they may not recognize the fuel and convenience store brands in different cities and states, and let's be honest -- when nature calls, we rarely have the luxury of shopping around for the best place to go," he said.
Beard said there are several things to look for though.
"Curb appeal is typically a good indicator of restroom quality," he said. "Is the fueling area clean? Does the building look new or at least well-maintained? If you're visiting at night, is the store well-lit? There are exceptions of course, but stores that are clean on the outside are typically clean on the inside. "
Beard said he enjoys the spontaneity of a good trip, but many travelers are in a hurry or want to minimize downtime when it comes to stops along a trip. He said some parts of the United States make this easy since there are clusters of retailers every 10 or 20 miles, but there are some areas where you may not see civilization for 30, 40 or more.
"Always be aware of this. It's a good idea to research your route ahead of time," he said.
A few dos and don'ts for the trip include not excessively snacking. Beard said he typically buys single-serving snacks from convenience stores along the way rather than the larger portions.
"Otherwise, I risk arriving for lunch or dinner, and I'm already full," he said.
Beard added to not make the mistake of assuming that everyone's fuel prices are the same. From state to state and even within individual cities, prices can vary by 10 cents, 20 cents or even more. He said to use an app like GasBuddy to make sure he's not overpaying when there's a cheaper option a few miles down the road.
Beard also said that travelers should enjoy the journey and to not be afraid to investigate unfamiliar convenience stores.
"Across the United States, there are so many examples of local operators who have hidden gem restaurants inside their convenience stores," he said. "For example, Wildfire Brick Oven Pizza is located inside a Shell station in Mashpee, Mass. The owner imported a brick oven from Italy, attended a pizza school in New York City, and serves some of the best pizza I've ever consumed in my life. It's all made from scratch. I hear she's also baking fresh bread now."
While the majority of travelers -- 49.3 million -- are planning to hit the roads this Thanksgiving, more than 4.45 million will fly, according to AAA. Travel by trains and other modes, including buses and cruises, is expected to reach about 1.5 million.
Jonathan Greene is the editor of The Register; follow him on Twitter @jgreeneRR.