Millions expected to travel for Memorial Day weekend

The start of Memorial Day weekend is less than three days away and millions are expected to hit the road or airport to head to and from their destinations.
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 1:25 PM EDT|Updated: May. 23, 2023 at 4:50 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LUDLOW, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - The start of Memorial Day weekend is less than three days away and millions are expected to hit the road or airport to head to and from their destinations.

More than 42 million people nationwide are expected to drive or fly somewhere for the Memorial Day weekend, which marks the unofficial start to summer. AAA Northeast spokesperson Mark Schieldrop told Western Mass News that includes more than a million people in Massachusetts alone, with many feeling the need for a vacation now that the global health emergency for COVID-19 is over.

“There are no more COVID restrictions that folks will have to worry about. You don’t have to get tested before your trip, you don’t have to carry that documentation anymore, there’s less fear of getting sick when you’re traveling itself. Mask usage is optional,” Schieldrop explained.

Massachusetts is expected to see a seven percent increase in travelers this holiday weekend compared to last year, with a vast majority expected to travel by car. Of course, like any holiday weekend, there is traffic expected. With many expected to go to and from hot spots like Cape Cod, visitors like Syracuse’s Richard Bundy told us he decided to head over sooner rather than later.

“We’ve traveled this road (the Mass. Pike) quite a bit. We know how it can get when there’s a lot of traffic,” Bundy said.

For those driving this weekend, the price of gas is lower than a year ago.

“This time last year, gas prices were $4.73 a gallon and today, as we speak, the price for a gallon of regular in Massachusetts is $3.44 a gallon,” Schieldrop noted.

When it comes to travelling on the road, major highways, like the Mass. Pike, are currently experiencing little or no congestion. However, Schieldrop said that could change in a matter of days. That’s why he said drivers should be patient and plan accordingly and get to their destination.

“Leave as early as you can and give yourself additional time for travel, so that way, if you do encounter road construction or a delay or maybe there’s a crash up ahead and you’re stuck in traffic, it doesn’t destroy your agenda or your itinerary,” Schieldrop added.

The same goes for those who are flying. About 3.4 million air travelers are expected, which is an 11 percent increase from last year. Should you encounter a problem, Schieldrop advised you to have a plan.

“Make sure that you get to your airport on time. Give yourself more time than you think you need and be ready for the fact that it’s going to be busy out there,” Schieldrop said.

Bundy said he and his wife will return from Cape Cod on Friday and said other drivers should keep their eyes open.

“Just do your homework, check it out, and do what you can to give yourself an easy time,” Bundy added.

AAA advised the best time to hit the road will be before Friday afternoon and the worst times for return travel will be next Monday and Tuesday between 4 and 8 p.m.