If you’re planning some 4th of July travel, there are a few things you have to plan first, like how many hot dogs and hamburgers to buy and whatever you need to spend a whole day at the beach. Oh, and what time to hit the road so you’re not stuck in all that 4th of July traffic.
With 46.9 million Americans expected to embark on 4th of July travel at least 50 miles from their home this year, according to AAA, and 39.7 million of those Americans planning a 4th of July travel road trip, the highways are sure to be packed. The holiday is also on a Wednesday this year, shaking things up a bit for some beach-goers.
“The expected increase in travelers this year is helped by Independence Day falling on a Wednesday, giving travelers more flexibility to schedule a trip the weekend before or after the holiday,” according to AAA, though the association also noted that officially, “the Independence Day holiday period is defined as Tuesday, July 3 to Sunday, July 8.”
Whether you’re road tripping to the Cape or just high-tailing it anywhere outside of the city, AAA worked with transportation analytics company INRIX to look at the best times to leave Boston so you don’t spend too much of your 4th of July travel time in traffic.
The worst day to start your 4th of July travel is Tuesday, July 3, according to AAA, specifically from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. If you wait to head out until then, it could take you 1.8 times longer than usual to reach your destination.
“With a record-level number of travelers hitting the road this holiday, drivers must be prepared for delays around major metros,” said Scott Sedlik of INRIX in a statement. “Although travel times are expected to nominally increase throughout the week, Tuesday afternoon will hands down be the worst time to be on the road. Our advice to drivers is to avoid peak commuting hours altogether or consider alternative routes.”
Plenty of people will want to stay, or even head to, Boston for the holiday as well. According to HotelTonight, Boston ranks sixth on a list of top 4th of July travel destinations, including local residents who want to stay in the city for the holiday. And really, with the Boston Pops, what reason is there to leave?