Thanksgiving travel 2022: Best and worst times to drive, highways in Mass. with the heaviest traffic

BOSTON — If you’re hoping for some carefree travel over the Thanksgiving holiday, your dreams may have bitten off more than they can chew.

AAA is predicting some of the busiest holiday travel in two decades this year, among people who will travel more than 50 miles or more from home for Thanksgiving.

Some 54.6 million will travel, according to AAA estimates, making it the third busiest since they started tracking travel volume back in 2000.

“Families and friends are eager to spend time together this Thanksgiving,” says Mary Maguire, Vice President of Public and Government Affairs at AAA Northeast. “Plan ahead and pack your patience, whether you’re driving or flying.”

Most of that travel will be by car.

Massachusetts drivers will account for more than 1.2 million of those on the roads, which is up slightly from last year, and AAA has some “hotspots” to be aware of:

“Travelers on Massachusetts roads should expect the most traffic on Wednesday, November 23, especially along the I-93, I-95, I-90, and Route 3 metro corridors,” said AAA.

  • I-93 south: Traffic is expected to be 76 percent higher than on a non-holiday weekday between exit 20 (I-90/Mass Pike junction) and Exit 4 (Route 24 junction)
  • I-93 north: Traffic is expected to be 53 percent higher between Exit 17 (Government Center) and Exit 25 (Route 28 junction).
  • I-95 south: Traffic is expected to be 30 percent higher between Exit 36 (Route 9) and Exit 21 (Coney Street)
  • I-90 west: Traffic is expected to be 26 percent higher between Exit 131 (Brighton, Cambridge) to Exit 95 (Route 122 Junction)
  • Route 3 north: Traffic is expected to be 19 percent higher between exit 36 (Derby St.) and exit 20 (I-93).

The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as the five-day period from Wednesday, November 23 to Sunday, November 27.

Air travel is also up, by just over eight percent, says AAA, which is an increase of more than 330,000 air travelers and nearly 99% of the 2019 volume.

“Airport parking spaces fill up fast, so reserve a spot ahead of time and arrive early,” says Maguire “Anticipate long TSA lines. If possible, avoid checking a bag to allow for more flexibility if flights are delayed or you need to reschedule.”

“Regardless of the mode of transportation you have chosen, expect crowds during your trip and at your destination. If your schedule is flexible, consider off-peak travel times during the holiday rush,” said Maguire.

Download the FREE Boston 25 News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Boston 25 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch Boston 25 News NOW