Holiday travel rush begins as storm system approaches New England


BOSTON - Thanksgiving is just days away and while turkey, stuffing and potatoes are top of mind for many, rough weather ahead could make traveling for the holiday difficult.

"Everyone's going back to their hometown for traveling purpose, so I think there might be some traffic jams," said Arthur Chow, who traveled to Boston all the way from Penn State for Thanksgiving break, leaving a week before the holiday to make the drive a little less painful. "I just wanted to beat traffic."

Whether it's by train, plane or car, one of the heaviest travel days of the year is here and neighbors in Boston are preparing early.

"Budget a little additional time so their travel is stress-free," said AAA travel expert Mark Schieldrop, who is warning of pre-pandemic travel numbers at the airport and on the road. "Right now, people are willing to spend for travel and that's been evident all year long. And especially with Thanksgiving, it's a real purpose-based travel holiday. Folks who maybe don't travel during the summer or don't go on a big trip during the summer, they're going to fly home from college or drive home to see their family."

According to AAA, 2023 is expected to be the third busiest Thanksgiving holiday travel on record, with 55.4 million Americans traveling, up 2.5% from 2022. AAA said rental car prices are down 20% from last year and gas prices in our area are down roughly 40 cents.

It's not just neighbors but agencies preparing for the congestion.

The MBTA is adding service during high ridership periods – including to and from Logan Airport. MassDOT is also pausing construction on all major roadways except for designated work areas.

Newly appointed MassDOT secretary Monica Tibbits-Nutt spoke to reporters Sunday.

"We know that people are trying to get from one place to another and it is our goal and sincerest hope to get everyone where they go as safely as humanly possible," said Tibbits-Nutt.

According to MassDOT, Tuesday and Wednesday will likely be the busiest travel days with heavy congestion on 93, 95 and the Mass Pike.


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