Is This Really the Busiest Travel Day?

iStock
iStock

So far, it seems that airport delays and other inconveniences have been minimal today, a good sign for millions of Thanksgiving travelers. That especially bodes well after the traditional hand-wringing about the busiest travel day of the year.

But is today actually the busiest travel day of the year? That depends how you're going, but for airlines the answer is a clear no. And it's not even close.

Federal statistics found that in recent years, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving didn't rank in the top 25 busiest travel days of the year for air travel, including a ranking of 55th in 2007 and 36th in 2006. Likewise, the days before Christmas generally rank below the top 20. Airports are expected to be much more crowded on weekends in the summer, when families are taking off for vacations.

For drivers, however, Thanksgiving is a rough time. According to AAA surveys, roughly 90 percent of the people going more than 50 miles will drive. This year, that's making Thanksgiving the busiest travel holiday since the start of the recession, with 42.5 million people traveling. Of those, 38.2 million are going by car, with another 3.4 million flying.

Interestingly, most of the travel that AA predicts will come on Thanksgiving day, not the day before. And airlines have said that during the Thanksgiving weekend, it's the return trips on Sunday and Monday that contribute to most of the traffic, rather than Wednesday being the busiest day.

That said, it's going to be more expensive to travel across the board. AAA found that gas, hotels and airline tickets and Amtrak round trip tickets had all risen in price compared to last year, with median spending expected to be $554 per person for the entire weekend.

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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Meet Ian Brackenbury Channell—the Official City Wizard of Christchurch, New Zealand

In Christchurch, New Zealand, wizards ride buses, not brooms.
In Christchurch, New Zealand, wizards ride buses, not brooms.

Gandalf and Saruman aren't the only wizards New Zealand can claim. The city of Christchurch has employed its own official wizard for more than 20 years, and as CNN Travel reports, he's preparing to pass off his staff to a wizarding apprentice.

Ian Brackenbury Channell has been dressing up as a wizard for decades. Though originally from the UK, his career in academia brought him to the Universities of New South Wales and Melbourne in Australia. He assumed his magical role, simply titled "The Wizard," at both institutions. Responses to the character varied, but he finally found a permanent home for the act in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Brackenbury Channell had been living in Christchurch for 24 years when the city offered him an official wizarding contract in 1998. His new role would require him to "provide acts of wizardry and other wizard-like-services as part of promotional work for the city of Christchurch." Every year since, The Wizard has collected an annual salary of 16,000 New Zealand dollars, or $10,400 USD, from the government.

At age 87, Brackenbury Channell is spending less time in the spotlight and looking for an aspiring wizard to take over the job. Musician Ari Freeman, 39, threw his pointed hat in the ring several years ago when he introduced himself as a young wizard. He's been training as his apprentice ever since.

Freeman already sports a long beard that would make Merlin proud, but the role of official wizard goes beyond looking the part. Other duties include promoting local events, welcoming foreign dignitaries, and rambling in Cathedral Square. The Christchurch City Council for "wizardry," which manages the position, hasn't stated whether it plans to extend the contract to Freeman.

[h/t CNN Travel]