Memorial Day weekend is fast approaching, putting tens of millions of drivers on our nation’s highways. We can expect one of the busiest travel periods in recent memory, and it begs the question as to whether it’s truly worth it for a few days of surf or mountain air.
Heavy traffic can ruin what is supposed to be a pleasant experience. In fact, some excursions are downright ruined because of the travel headaches involved. Here are a handful of trips that are routinely killed by congestion.
Baseball’s Opening Day - It’s usually a day game, which creates all kinds of havoc when the game ends and fans depart and combine with rush hour traffic. Add in the fact that it’s the first day of the year fans haven’t quite figured out how to use Metro or find the best places to park. I love baseball more than my family, but often skip Opening Day because there are at least 161 more opportunities to see your team play with less aggravation.
July 4 Celebrations - So you want to come down to the National Mall and check out the fireworks and other festivities on Independence Day? OK, but brace yourself for insanity. This is typically one of the heaviest days for Metro, with hundreds of thousands of sweaty tourists packed into trains on every line. Stay home, grill out on your deck and watch the fireworks being set off by your moronic neighbor instead.
Any Washington Redskins Game - It’s always debatable if Washington’s football team is worth seeing in person, but even a winning team can’t mask the hellacious experience of getting to and from FedEx Field. There’s always a jam getting onto and off the Beltway before and after the game, and traffic on ancillary roads like Route 214 and Route 202 is terrible. [Read: Best Ways to Get to the Redskins Game.]
Air Shows - I’ve attended the air show at Andrews Air Force base, and traffic is tolerable but you must be prepared to wait a long while to hop on buses to actually get onto the facility. I also saw the Blue Angels perform a few years ago over Fort McHenry in Baltimore, and it proved to be very hard to park anywhere close to the best viewing spots.
Thanksgiving - Do you really want to see your family this much? FaceTime them, and tell them you’ll visit over a quiet long weekend in February.
Memorial Day Weekend - We get it. It’s the first chance you’ve had all year to escape to the beach or the mountains. But it’s also usually hours upon hours of sitting on the Bay Bridge or I-95, often with kids in the car who are demanding snacks and bathroom breaks. Unless you’re hitting the road in the middle of the night on Tuesday, you’re in for a world of hurt traveling over the Memorial Day weekend.