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TSA Warns: 2018 Thanksgiving Travel Will Be Unprecedented

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Travel experts are already predicting the busiest Thanksgiving season at the airport on record.

This year's holiday is also expected to last longer than normal, CBS2's Natalie Duddridge reported Tuesday.

The lineups at LaGuardia Airport are still calm, but in just over a week it will be mobbed.

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The Transportation Security Administration is projecting this Thanksgiving will see 25 million travelers, 7 percent more people flying than last year.

"I try to get out before the rush. Saturday to Saturday so the Saturday before Thanksgiving," traveler Barbara O'Hare said.

O'Hare is one of thousands who plan to start their holidays even sooner than usual, as early as Nov. 16, making the Thanksgiving rush last a full 10 days until Nov. 26.

"People are trying to get a jump-start, head start on the crowds, but actually it's just as busy the Friday before Thanksgiving and the Monday before Thanksgiving," TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein said. "It starts to ramp up on Tuesday. Wednesday is huge, of course, the day before Thanksgiving. And Sunday, right after Thanksgiving, is probably one of the busiest days.

"More people, indeed, are traveling, so here at LaGuardia Airport we are going to see just tens of thousands more passengers coming through the checkpoint," Farbstein added.

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MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 24: A patch is seen on the jacket of a Transportation Security Administration official as he works at the automated screening lanes funded by American Airlines and installed by the Transportation Security Administration at Miami International Airport on October 24, 2017 in Miami, Florida. The automated checkpoint technology, which is now in use at 11 airports across the country, is said by officials with the Transportation Security Administration to enhance security efficiency as well as decrease the amount of time spent in the security screening process. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

But even though travelers are staggering their travel start dates, the TSA says each individual day at the airport is not going to be any less crazy.

As many as 50,000 people are expected to pass through LaGuardia daily. At John F. Kennedy Airport, that number doubles to 100,000 each day. And around 70,000 are predicted at Newark Liberty Airport's security checkpoints.

"I tried traveling last year on the day and it was just packed and I thought traveling on the day would be easier. It was almost worse," traveler Jo Holcomb said.

So to make the mayhem flow a little easier, the TSA's advice is arrive early and be prepared.

And that means knowing what to pack.

Turkey and stuffing are allowed in carry-on bags. So are pies and cakes, because they're considered solids.

But no gravy or mashed potatoes because they're considered a liquid.

"So a popular Thanksgiving dish is yams. If it's wet and already made liquid it has to go in checked baggage. If it's not made yet, dry yams that can go in carry-on baggage," said the TSA's Shatimah Brathwaite.

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If you're still not sure what you can or can't bring on board, there's an app for that. All you need to do is download My TSA, type in your question and you'll get an answer.

For example, travelers cannot bring sparklers on board, but can bring knitting needles.

All of those travelers will stagger en route to their destination, but the madness happens when they all come back on the same two days, Sunday and Monday.

The TSA says you can bring wrapped gifts on board, but it's not recommended. Why not? Because if it sets off an x-ray machine officials will have to unwrap it to find out what's inside.

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