Still feeling the effects of the sluggish economic recovery, many Americans setting out on the annual Thanksgiving migration had to sacrifice summer vacations, rely on relatives for airfare or scour the Web for travel deals to ensure they made it home.
And it's not just tight finances making travel tough. Airlines struggling to save on jet fuel have cut the number of flights, leading to a jump in airfares. Those hitting the roads face high gas prices and rising tolls.
Many travelers say they're accepting that sacrifices for holiday journeys have become the norm.
For locomotive engineer Chris Zukowski that meant staying behind while his wife and three children flew from Chicago to see family in New Jersey. He says after several years he has "become immune" to such sacrifices.