This Is When Traffic Will Be the Worst During Memorial Day Weekend in Boston

Don't ring in summer stuck in traffic. AAA is out with travel data on the most popular holiday destinations, how many people will hit the roads, and more.

Cars in gridlock

Photo via iStock/Grafissimo

Your cooler is packed will berries and booze. Your suitcase is stuffed with crisp, white linen. Your face is slathered with sunscreen, the only perfume appropriate all season long.

Memorial Day weekend is finally here, and now all that’s left is to sit back, relax, and suffer through some miserable traffic.

The starting line of summer is a crowded one, as folks hit the streets, the railroad tracks, and the airports to make the most of the holiday weekend. And if you’ve struggled with Memorial Day bottlenecks in years past, you’re in for a doozy in 2018. According to data released by AAA last week, more than 41.5 million people will travel this weekend, a roughly 5 percent increase from last year and the highest total in more than 12 years.

Road trips are on tap for the vast majority of Memorial Day revelers, and 36.6 million people are expected to get behind the wheel this weekend, according to AAA. The worst time to leave Boston, the insurance company predicts, will be from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, when trips will take nearly twice as long as usual. Meanwhile, the navigation app Waze advises motorists to avoid the roads between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Friday and from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

And though a drive down to the Cape or out to the Berkshires is certainly a popular choice, more and more people are turning to the skies to reach their holiday destinations. For the fifth year in a row, air travel volume will increase during Memorial Day weekend, AAA reports, and 3.1 million people will fly. Many of them are headed to Orlando, which the insurance company predicts will be the most popular domestic travel destination this Memorial Day. Boston, meanwhile, is slated to be the eighth-most visited city in the U.S. for the holiday, so be sure to plan or extra congestion even if you’re staying put in the Hub.

With so many people on the roads, accidents and breakdowns are bound to happen. AAA anticipates it will rescue more than 340,000 drivers this Memorial Day, mostly due to dead batteries, lockouts, and flat tires. So, do yourself a favor, and check to make sure that your vehicle is as ready as you are to usher in summer.