A new survey released this week by AAA Northeast indicates that almost 40% of Massachusetts residents plan to travel 100 to 500 miles this Labor Day Weekend, which runs from Friday, August 30 to Monday, September 2, 2019. In the tourism industry, anyone traveling over 50 miles and/or staying overnight in lodging constitutes a tourist, according to the Mass Office of Travel & Tourism.
This is good news for tourism in the six New England states and especially for the Bay State itself. Among the most popular Massachusetts destinations are Cape Cod, greater Boston and the Berkshires, according to the report.
Falling gas prices this summer are likely to stimulate travel by car, according to Mary Maguire, director of public affairs and legislative affairs for AAA Northeast.
“In our AAA survey, less than 8 percent of respondents said gasoline prices would impact their ability to travel,” Maguire says. “Lower prices at the pump could also spur last-minute travel and a significant amount of day tripping—especially if there’s a sunny forecast.”
Lindsey Schmid, director of marketing for 1Berkshire, Berkshire County’s official economic development organization and tourism council, said that Tanglewood, a popular music venue in Lenox, MA, will draw visitors thanks to upcoming performances by Gladys Knight, Reba McEntire and Melissa Etheridge.
“At this time of year, you’re seeing less two- and three-night occupancy minimums and the pricing is going for less,” says Schmid. “The farmers’ market continues through October, the museum exhibits are continuing and not ending in mid-August and people are realizing there’s a lot to do beyond July through the end of August. In general, we’re seeing the beginning of the summer sooner and summer ending later.”
The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline stands at $2.60 per gallon, a decrease of three cents since last week and 24 cents lower than this time last year. AAA advises motorists to shop around for the best prices in their area, and to make sure they and their passengers buckle up — every time.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is urging Labor Day travelers to utilize all the available technology tools including www.mass511.com, and consider public transportation if possible to reach destinations.
Mass Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver says, “We know there typically are higher volumes on some state highways during Labor Day weekend, and we advise everyone to make smart decisions before getting behind the wheel and heading to their holiday travel destinations. Everyone should utilize the appropriate technology tools and wayfinding resources, consider the best route and time to travel, remain sober or use a designated driver, and exercise safe driving behavior at all times.”
The U.S Army Corps of Engineers reports that there will be no lane restrictions on the Sagamore Bridge or Bourne Bridge during the Labor Day weekend period.
Free coffee will be served at the 18 MassDOT service plazas from 10 p.m. Monday, September 2, through 5 a.m., Tuesday, September 3. The plazas serving free coffee include 11 service plazas along I-90 plus plazas along Route 3 in Plymouth, Route 128 in Beverly, Route 128/I-95 in Newton and Lexington, Route 6 in Barnstable, and the Route 24 northbound and southbound plazas.
The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) has also released information regarding travel on Labor Day, Monday, September 2. According to the MBTA, all subway and commuter rail lines, buses, trackless trolleys, and commuter rails will operate on a Sunday schedule. There is no service planned for the F1 Hingham-Boston ferry, and all other ferries and boats will operate on a Sunday schedule. For more information: https://www.mbta.com/holidays
For traffic and road conditions, drivers may use the following options to make decisions:
- Download MassDOT’s GoTime mobile app and view real-time traffic conditions before setting out on the road.
- Download Waze, the real-time traffic navigation app that provides motorists with real-time traffic conditions across Massachusetts.
- Visit mass511.com to view travel times, road construction, traffic alerts or crashes along a route. Incidents, road closures, lane closures, real-time live traffic cameras, and weather alerts/forecasts, can all be viewed on the interactive live Traffic Map.
- Dial 511 from a landline or cell phone to hear information on current conditions on major roadways.
- Register for a Mass511 account to create and personalize routes and alerts to be notified of events on those routes ahead of time.
- Check MassDOT Highway Traffic and Travel Resources.
- Follow MassDOT on Twitter @MassDOT as incidents that impact traffic flow are generally mentioned in tweets if they occur on the state’s major highways.
For more about visiting Massachusetts year round, go to MassVacation.com.