ASHLAND — More than 2.2 million Ohioans will travel at least 50 miles from home this Thanksgiving, according to predictions from automotive and travel club AAA.
AAA said last week that 54.6 million Americans are expected to travel over the holiday, Nov. 23 through 27. The number represents a 1.5-percent increase over national 2021 levels and 98% of pre-pandemic volumes.
A press release from the organization said “continued higher costs of living and gas prices, coupled with concerns about inflation, are slowing travel volumes from exceeding pre-pandemic levels.”
But this year’s travel projections are still more than the 10-year average of 2012-2021 and the third highest on record.
In Ohio, this year will be the fourth highest record.
“Families and friends are eager to spend time together this Thanksgiving, one of the busiest for travel in the past two decades,” said Paula Twidale, AAA’s senior vice president of Travel. “Plan ahead and pack your patience, whether you’re driving or flying.”
Most people in Ohio will drive to their destination this Thanksgiving, AAA predicted.
INRIX, which provides location-based data and analytics, worked with AAA to determine peak travel times. The busiest times to travel by car include:
• Wednesday, Nov. 23: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
• Thursday, Nov. 24: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• Friday, Nov. 25: 4 to 8 p.m.
• Saturday, Nov. 26: 4 to 8 p.m.
• Sunday, Nov. 27: 4 to 8 p.m.
“Thanksgiving is one of the busiest holidays for road trips, and this year will be no different,” says Bob Pishue, transportation analyst, INRIX. “Although travel times will peak on Wednesday afternoon nationally, travelers should expect much heavier than normal congestion throughout the holiday weekend.
“Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic.”
AAA encourages motorists to prepare vehicles for road trips by checking key components like the battery, fuel system, tires, brakes and fluid levels.
Although most Ohioans will travel by road, a record number plan to fly.
AAA predicts 216,000 Ohioans will fly, which is up 9.1% from last Thanksgiving and exceeds pre-pandemic levels by nearly 15,000 travelers.
Nationally, AAA says more than 4.5 million Americans will fly, up 8% from 2021 and nearly 99% of the 2019 volume.
“Airport parking spaces fill up fast, so reserve a spot ahead of time and arrive early,” Twidale suggests. “Anticipate long TSA lines. If possible, avoid checking a bag to allow for more flexibility if flights are delayed or you need to reschedule.”
More than 60,000 Ohioans have chosen to travel by bus, train or cruise ship, AAA said. That’s an increase of 23% from 2021 both nationally and in Ohio.
“With travel restrictions lifted and more people comfortable taking public transportation again, it’s no surprise buses, trains and cruises are coming back in a big way,” Twidale said.