May 24, 2023 - Transit

How to beat the traffic around Boston on Memorial Day weekend

A small line of travelers line up behind the Delta Sky Priority windows at Logan Airport, days before the Memorial Day weekend travel rush.

Some air travelers were smarter than us and left on Tuesday. Photo: Steph Solis/Axios

If you're planning to leave Greater Boston this Memorial Day weekend, you may want to head out early to account for extra traffic.

Why it matters: AAA estimates that 42.3 million Americans will travel during the holiday weekend — a 7% increase over last year.

When to go: Friday is expected to be the busiest day on the roads during the long weekend, according to INRIX, which provides transportation data and insights.

  • The best times to travel by car are in the morning or in the evening after 6 p.m., per INRIX.
Planes, trains and automobiles

🛩 Despite high ticket prices, demand for flights is skyrocketing, AAA said.

  • Nearly 3.4 million travelers are expected to fly to their destinations, in an 11% increase over last year. Air travel might even exceed pre-pandemic levels.

Zoom in: Logan is expected to be packed with Delta, JetBlue and other airlines’ flights filling up.

  • Delta flights for the holiday weekend are 97% booked, says John Angel, the airline’s managing director of airport operations in Boston. He says this summer appears to be on par with, if not slightly above, 2019 levels.

Be smart: Get to the airport at least two hours early for domestic flights and three hours early for international flights, especially considering the delays caused by the Sumner Tunnel closures and the T.

🚘 An estimated 37.1 million people will be packing up their cars for Memorial Day road trips this year. That’s an increase of more than 2 million people compared to 2022, but still below pre-pandemic levels.

Between the lines: Gas prices are lower this year compared to last Memorial Day weekend.

  • As of Monday, the average gas price in Greater Boston was $3.5 per gallon, the same as the national average. This time last year, it was more than $4 a gallon.

🚊Plus: Some 1.85 million travelers are expected to take buses, trains and other alternate modes of transportation, in a 20.6% increase over last year, per AAA.


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