Record-setting traveling expected over Independence Day holiday


By Sam Wildow

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MIAMI VALLEY — Over two million Ohioans are expected to be traveling this weekend for the Independence Day holiday, breaking pre-pandemic levels of drivers on the road and setting new records for holidays to come.

AAA Spokeswoman Kara Hitchens said while all methods of traveling are seeing increased demands, road trips are expected to dominate this summer despite seeing some of the highest gas prices in seven years. AAA is anticipating that 95% of holiday travel in Ohio will be by car with an expected 1.9 million Ohioans driving to their destinations over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

This is the highest on record for this holiday and 1.3% more than the previous record set in 2019, according to AAA. The volume of motorists on the road has increased by almost 19% over 2020’s pandemic Fourth of July holiday.

“Travel is in full swing this summer as Americans eagerly pursue travel opportunities they’ve deferred for the last year-and-a-half,” Hitchens said. “We saw strong demand for travel around Memorial Day and the kick-off of summer, and all indications now point to a busy Independence Day to follow.”

The demand for traveling is continuing to grow as people are ready to get back on road, and AAA is recommending those who do travel to plan ahead.

“It’s going to be imperative to plan ahead,” Hitchens said. Communities have gone through numerous changes over the past year, and even though COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted throughout the state, visitors still may come across unexpected obstacles.

“Attractions and locations may be closed, they may have altered hours,” Hitchens said. Travelers should look into the travel guidelines to the places they will be visiting. She also recommended for travelers to be open to making changes to their trips.

“(Travelers should) have their plan and their itinerary in check, but also just be flexible to any changes that may come along,” Hitchens said. “We are seeing a lot of businesses being short-staffed, which could very well impact hours and level of service.”

AAA also recommends checking your vehicle to make sure it is ready for a road trip. AAA expects to rescue more than 4,600 Ohioans at the roadside this Independence Day weekend.

In addition to traveling by car, over 73,000 Ohioans are expected to hit the skies as AAA anticipates that air travel volumes this Independence Day will reach 82.8% of pre-pandemic levels, an increase of 126% compared to last year.

Another 27,495 Ohioans are expected to travel by other modes this Independence Day, which will be an increase of over 45% compared to last year, but 83% lower than in 2019, according to AAA. This includes travel by bus and train, as well as the return of cruising. Cruise lines have announced limited sailings resuming from U.S. ports, which began in late June.

For those headed for a cruise, AAA is recommending travelers work with a travel advisor. A travel advisor can offer advice on cancellation policies, what to expect on the cruise, and travel insurance options to help protect your vacation.

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