Traveling for the holidays? Check out Waze data for maximum efficiency

waze traffic tips christmas eve screen shot 2016 12 18 at 8 46 39 am

In order to be home for the holidays, you may have to navigate quite a bit of traffic. Whether you’re coming from the airport or getting port from the grocery store, you’ll likely battle hordes of other cars trying to do the same. You could try looking to the community-based navigation app Waze, which has released information on traffic trends for the holiday season to help drivers more efficiently navigate what are sure to be congested roads in the coming weeks. So go ahead — pick up your loved ones and your last-minute gifts.

The navigation app analyzed last year’s driving patterns on Christmas Eve to shed a bit of light on what we might expect in just a few short days. When it comes to last minute shopping, the most popular time frame fell between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., with a 16 percent increase in routes to retail destinations. So if you’ve forgotten to get your sister-in-law that bathrobe she wanted, either go super early or super late.

As for grocery runs, folks seemed to realize that they were missing key ingredients at around the same time, with a 34 percent increase in routes to the local store between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. — apparently, folks start cooking immediately thereafter.

Curiously, while dinner is clearly an at-home event (what with all those spikes in grocery store trips), the same isn’t necessarily true for lunch. In fact, Waze observed a 27 percent increase in routes to restaurants between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., because when you know you’ll be cooking the rest of the day, you’ll want a break somewhere in between.

And as for travelers, it may actually behoove you to cut it super close — Waze data suggests that most out-of-towners came home before Christmas Eve, as there was only an 8 percent increase in trips to the airport between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. last year. The same could not be said for places of worship — those routes were up 148 percent in popularity throughout all of Christmas Eve.

So if you’re planning on hitting the streets in a few days, keep these stats in mind. They may just help you save extra time that you could be spending with the family.