Buckle up, travelers, it’s going to be a bumpy week.
Thanksgiving is one of the busiest times of the year as people take to the roads, rails, and skies to gather over heaping platefuls of turkey and pumpkin pie.
More than 43 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles from home between Wednesday and Sunday, according to AAA, and 90 percent of them will be on the road.
Leanna Hamill is planning to make her annual drive from Cohasset to her father’s cabin in the Maine woods near Portland, leaving by 10 a.m. on Wednesday morning in an attempt to beat traffic. The 41-year-old attorney has made the mistake of leaving in rush hour before, slowing the normally three-hour trek to a crawl.
The weather may not be on Hamill’s side. Forecasters are predicting heavy rain for Wednesday.
If Hamill does get stuck in a horrendous traffic jam this year, she’s prepared — with 58 hours of Sherlock Holmes audio books. And she knows she’ll be rewarded when she gets there.
“My dad’s homemade ice cream and chestnut oyster stuffing makes all the driving worth it,” she said.
Some travelers have to take multiple forms of transportation. Emerson College student Katie Mo flew to Los Angeles on Friday to see her mother and is driving to San Diego on Thanksgiving Day to celebrate with her father.
Shelby Alinsky , a 30-year-old editor at National Geographic in Washington, is arriving in Boston Wednesday morning on an overnight Amtrak train and catching a ride to her parents’ house in Chatham — and hoping to miss Cape traffic in the process.
Julie McIntyre is taking a Greyhound bus from Newark to South Station on Wednesday afternoon — “the worst possible day,” she said — to spend the holiday with her boyfriend and his family in Dorchester.
McIntyre, 41, normally makes the trip by train but didn’t want to pay the hefty $340 price tag.
She’s realistic about the throngs of travelers she expects to encounter — and knows it won’t be much better when she heads back to Newark on Monday: “It’s going to be a mess.”
But when your boyfriend’s mother and sister invite you for your first Thanksgiving, you do what you have to do.
“Come hell or high water, I gotta be there,” she said. “The things we do for love.”