Thanksgiving week traffic can be a mess in Boston, and AAA is projecting that 48.7 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving. Here's everything you need to know before you begin your travels:
There's some good news for anyone taking the Massachusetts Turnpike to get in or out of Boston for Thanksgiving. State highway officials had originally said that construction crews working on the road reconstruction project would remain on the turnpike until noon on Wednesday, Nov. 23. But they've now decided that crews will cease work by 5 a.m. to make things a bit easier on drivers. There still could be some traffic for those who leave for their Thanksgiving destinations earlier in the week.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation says the highways are typically the busiest on the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving and on the Sunday after the holiday. Travelers on the busiest days are encouraged to either leave early in the morning or after 8 p.m.
Free coffee will be served at 18 MassDOT service plazas on Thanksgiving night from 10 p.m. through 5 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 25.
The MBTA has released its subway, commuter rail, bus and boat service schedules for the Thanksgiving holiday.
To accommodate customers traveling to and from Logan International Airport, additional Silver Line 1 service will be offered between Saturday, Nov. 19 and Wednesday, Nov. 23, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day. Additional service will also be provided from Saturday, Nov. 26 through Monday, Nov. 28.
The Red Line, Orange Line, Blue Line and Green Line will operate on a regular weekday schedule on Wednesday, Nov. 23; and on Thanksgiving Day - Thursday, Nov. 24 - the Red, Orange, Blue and Green lines will operate on a Sunday schedule. On Friday, Nov. 25, the Red, Orange and Blue lines will operate on a regular Friday schedule, while the Mattapan Trolley and Green Line branches will operate on a Saturday schedule.
Commuter rail lines will operate on a regular weekday schedule on Wednesday, Nov. 23. On Thanksgiving Day - Thursday, Nov. 24 - commuter rail lines will operate on a Sunday schedule. On Friday, Nov. 25, commuter rail will operate on regular weekday schedules.
Bus service will operate on a Sunday schedule on Thanksgiving Day only.
On Wednesday, Nov. 23, Hingham and Hull ferry service will operate on a modified weekday schedule, and Charlestown service will operate on a regular weekday schedule. On Thanksgiving Day, there will be no Hingham, Hull or Charlestown ferry service.
On Thursday, Nov. 24, The RIDE will operate on a Sunday schedule. Please contact your local RIDE contractor for details
For full MBTA schedule details, please visit: http://www.mbta.com/events/
To accomodate the nearly 1 million people who will travel out of Logan International Airport between now and the Monday after Thanksgiving, the airport will have additional staff on duty and volunteers helping as well.
Here are a few tips from Massport to help ensure that your trip goes smoothly:
- Families should plan ahead and determine how they will get to and from the airport
- There are many HOV and public transportation options available. More information and schedules can be found at Massport.com
- Helpful travel information about what to expect at the airport can be found at Massport.com and TSA.gov
- Travelers can get flight information on Massport.com up to 4 hours before their flight, and should arrive 2 hours early for a domestic flight and 3 hours for international
- Many airlines allow you to check in online before you get to the airport;
- For those picking up loved ones at the airport: Massport.com has a wayfinder application to help you know your way around Logan; we recommend waiting in the cell phone lot until your party can meet you at the curb
Here are some helpful Transportation Security Administration tips to ensure a smooth checkpoint experience:
- Arrive early. The increase in travel volume has a wide-ranging effect. Consider incorporating additional time in your travel plans for traffic, parking, rental car returns and airline check-in. Arrive up to two hours in advance of your flight departure time for domestic travel and three hours for international flights.
- Prepare for security. Have a valid ID and boarding pass out and remove large electronics, including laptops and liquids from carry-on baggage. Avoid over packing your carry-on bag. Consider checking bags where feasible.
- Follow the liquids rule. Liquids, gels, aerosols, creams and pastes must be 3.4 ounces or less and all containers must fit inside a single quart-size plastic bag and be placed in a bin for carry-on baggage screening.
- Pack food items. Items such as pies and cakes are allowed in your carry-on, but may require further inspection. If you are not sure if a food item is considered a liquid or gel, it is best to pack the item in a checked bag or ship it to your destination in advance.
- Leave gifts unwrapped. We recommend packing unwrapped gifts or placing items in a gift bag or wrapping them after arriving at your destination as TSA may have to unwrap them during security screening.
- Go to TSA.gov. For any additional questions on what can and cannot bring onboard.