Thanksgiving Travelers Make the Trek to See Friends and Family

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Passengers boarding a Steamship Authority ferry to Nantucket on Wednesday

HYANNIS – The Thanksgiving travel rush is underway across Cape Cod, as people make the trek to see friends and family.

AAA predicts this year will be the busiest Turkey Day travel period in nearly a decade, spurred by an improving economy and lower gas prices.

In total, 48.7 million Americans are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home this week, representing an increase of over one million travelers from 2015.

The ferries to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, local airports and bus terminals, were all expected to see an increase in volume on Wednesday.

At the Steamship Authority in Hyannis, the terminal was bustling early on Wednesday with passengers getting ready for the boat ride to Nantucket.

Michael Cain of London was returning to the island where he spent summers with family.

“It’s kind of nostalgic having spent summers there and Thanksgivings from childhood. It’s incredibly important to be able to get back out there. Rain, wind, fog, whatever — it’s always a good time,” said Cain.

At the Hyannis Transportation Center, buses were the travel mode of choice.

Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority Administrator Tom Cahir said safety would be their priority during the holiday week.

A full Steamship Authority terminal in Hyannis on Wednesday

A full Steamship Authority terminal in Hyannis on Wednesday

“People are giving thanks, going back and seeing friends and family. We’re cognizant of that and try to be courteous and friendly and helpful to everybody,” said Cahir.

The airports were also expecting major increases in passenger numbers.

“Close to 1 million passenger will travel through Logan Airport during the Thanksgiving holiday. Today and tomorrow will be busy days before, Sunday and Monday will be busiest days to fly after,” said Massachusetts Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack.

The price of gas has fallen just in time for the drive to grandma’s house.

AAA Northeast reports that the cost of self-serve, regular gasoline has dropped 4 cents in the past week to an average of $2.08 per gallon.

The Massachusetts price is 6 cents below the national average for the same grade, but a penny higher than the in-state price a year ago.

According to GasBuddy.com, regular unleaded on Cape Cod is selling for a low of $2.01 per gallon to a high of $2.33 per gallon.

“Close to 950,000 Massachusetts residents are expected to drive to their destinations between Wednesday and Sunday,” said AAA Northeast spokesperson Mary Maguire said.

“At least it’s staggered over five days, that’s a good thing,” she said.

Triple-A defines the Thanksgiving travel period as Wednesday through Sunday, but the Tuesday before the holiday has seen an increase in travel volume in recent years.

89 percent of travelers will drive to their destinations this Thanksgiving, according to AAA.

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