Summer Travelers Seek Fun in the Sun


The Magic Kingdom in Orlando.

The Magic Kingdom in Orlando.

AAA Travel bookings reveal top summer vacation destinations

COLUMBUS (May 2, 2018) – Millions of Americans are counting down the days until their summer vacations, with most U.S. travelers planning trips to warm-weather destinations. Orlando has retained its top spot as the most visited domestic travel destination, while Honolulu and Maui, Hawaii, have both grown in popularity compared with last summer.

“This is shaping up to be another banner season for travel as Americans look to get out and enjoy themselves in the summer sun,” said Bill Sutherland, senior vice president, AAA Travel and Publishing. “Travelers are making plans now to visit theme parks, sail away on cruise vacations, relax at the beach and explore cities in the U.S. and across the globe.”

Domestic Travel

The top domestic summer travel destinations, based on AAA Travel bookings for trips June 1 through August 15, are:

1. Orlando, Florida (1)

2. Honolulu, Hawaii (4)

3. Anchorage, Alaska (2)

4. Seattle, Washington (3)

5. Los Angeles/Anaheim, California (5)

6. Maui, Hawaii (7)

7. Fairbanks, Alaska (6)

8. Las Vegas, Nevada (8)

9. Boston, Massachusetts (13)

10. Salt Lake City, Utah (14)

*Number in parentheses indicates summer 2017 ranking.

Road trips remain the most popular family vacation option for those staying stateside, despite higher gas prices. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of those planning a family trip are expected to hit the roads this year.

International Travel

“Many Americans, including those traveling as a family, will venture overseas for their summer vacations,” continued Sutherland. “More than one-third of families who are planning a trip together this year will visit an international destination.”

Rome has regained its standing as the most popular locale for international summer vacations, while Dublin and Paris both continue to climb in the rankings. Beach destinations in Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Mexico can also expect an influx of travelers this summer.

AAA’s top international summer travel destinations include:

1. Rome, Italy (3)

2. Vancouver, British Columbia (1)

3. Dublin, Ireland (4)

4. London, England (2)

5. Paris, France (7)

6. Montego Bay, Jamaica (8)

7. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (5)

8. Calgary, Alberta (10)

9. Cancun, Mexico (6)

10. Amsterdam, Netherlands (9)

*Number in parentheses indicates summer 2017 ranking.

Summer Travel Tips

AAA’s travel experts offer their top tips for travelers planning summer vacations, including:

Plan ahead – Book early for the best deals and availability on hotels, airfare, car rentals and more.

Work with a travel agent – Travel agents often have access to extra amenities and added benefits to help plan the perfect summer vacation. They can also be a tremendous help in the event something changes or goes wrong on your trip.

Be flexible – If your schedule permits, avoid traveling during peak times this summer, including Memorial Day weekend and around Independence Day, to encounter less congestion and fewer crowds.

Safety first – If driving, get plenty of rest before setting out on your road trip. Schedule breaks every two hours or 100 miles to remain alert and avoid driving drowsy.

Make sure your vehicle is road trip ready – Take your vehicle to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out. Pack an emergency kit that includes a mobile phone and car charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a basic toolkit, and drinking water and snacks for all passengers.

Pack your patience – Summer is one of the busiest travel times of the year. Expect heavy crowds and allow plenty of time to get to your destination safely.

To help travelers plan their summer vacations, AAA’s professional inspectors have assessed nearly 59,000 hotels and restaurants across the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Every AAA Inspected & Approved hotel and restaurant is acceptable for the type of experience it provides. Ratings, from One to Five Diamonds, help travelers find the level of services, facilities and amenities they’re looking for on their vacation. Travelers can find Diamond Rated establishments in the AAA Mobile app, AAA Travel Guides and TripTik Travel Planner.

Please join Motorcycle Ohio to promote motorcycle awareness.

Motorcycle Ohio

Please join Motorcycle Ohio to promote motorcycle awareness.

May is Motorcycle Awareness Month.

Hopefully the fair weather months are upon us!

Warmer temperatures means the chances of motorists interacting with motorcycles on the roadways are likely. According to recent statistics, motorcycle fatalities have been on the rise an average of 10% per year over the last 20 years. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics also show their percentage of overall traffic fatalities and injuries has also had a steady increase.

With that in mind Motorcycle Ohio is inviting all riders to join us at our statewide “Save the Date” campaigns. Join us in Cincinnati, Columbus, Milford, Valley View & the Village of Sheffield at select Quaker Steak & Lube Locations to raise awareness and promote safe riding. Weather you have taken a Motorcycle Ohio class, or you just want to be around those that love the open road, we hope you can join us.The dates and times are below. No RSVP is required!

Ride safe!

All at Quaker Steak & Lube Locations unless otherwise noted

Wednesday, May 16, 2018 5:30-9 p.m., 8500 Lyra Drive, Columbus Ohio

Wednesday, June 13, 2018 6-9:30 p.m., 590 Chamber Drive, Milford Ohio

Thursday, June 14, 2018 5-9 p.m., 3737 Stone Creek Blvd., Cincinnati Ohio

Wednesday, June 20 2018 5:30-9 p.m., 5935 Canal Road, Valley View Ohio

Thursday, June 21, 2018 5-9 p.m., 4900 Transportation Drive, Village of Sheffield Ohio

Thursday, June 28, 2018 6:30-9:30 p.m., Fat Cat’s Pizza, 1448 Ety Pointe Dr. Lancaster Ohio

Electric Vehicles Growing in Popularity

AAA study reveals 1-in-5 drivers wants an electric vehicle

COLUMBUS (May 8, 2018) – Motorists’ appetite for electric vehicles is growing. A new AAA survey shows 20 percent, or 50 million Americans, will likely go electric for their next vehicle purchase, up from 15 percent in 2017. AAA sees a strong future for electric vehicles, due to rising gas prices, easing of range anxiety and economical ownership costs.

“Today’s electric vehicles have mainstream appeal,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering. “While concern for the environment is still a major motivator, AAA found U.S. drivers are also attracted to the lower long-term costs and advanced technology features that many of these vehicles offer. “

Top Electric Vehicles:

To aid consumers in shopping for an electric, hybrid or other fuel-efficient vehicles, AAA is announcing the top 2018 green vehicles in the annual AAA Green Car Guide. The Automobile Club of Southern California conducts extensive testing each year, and assigns ratings based on criteria important to buyers, such as ride quality, safety and performance.

The following vehicles earned AAA’s 2018 Top Green Vehicle award:

Overall : Tesla Model X 75D

Subcompact Car: Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier

Compact Car: Nissan Leaf SL

Midsize Car: BMW 530e i-Performance

Large Car: Tesla Model S 75

Pickup: Ford F-150 4X4 XLT Sport

SUV/Minivan: Tesla Model X 75D

Best Under $30K: Kia Niro LX

Best $30K – $50K: Chevrolet Bolt EV Premier

Best Over $50K: Tesla Model X 75D

Information about the winners, detailed evaluation criteria, vehicle reviews, and an in-depth analysis of the green vehicle industry can be found at

Range Anxiety Declining:

Perhaps fueling drivers’ desire for electric vehicles, AAA’s survey found that range anxiety is beginning to ease. Among those unsure or unwilling to choose an electric vehicle for their next car, 63 percent (down 9 percent from 2017) cited not enough places to charge, while 58 percent (down 15 percent from 2017) expressed concern over running out of charge while driving. Range anxiety is less of a concern for millennials (48 percent) than Generation X or Baby Boomers (64 percent and 66 percent respectively).

Charging Availability:

While drivers may be more eager to buy an electric vehicle, having the right infrastructure will be critical to its widespread adoption.

“As we keep a close relationship with the automotive industry we realize most of all auto companies are increasing their electric model numbers,” said Jim Barna, executive director of DriveOhio. “With that in mind we realize that we will have to look at our state infrastructure to see what we can do to provide that ability to charge.”

The availability of charging stations has growing to more than 16,000 in the United States, including 700 public stations in Ohio, 215 of which are in Columbus.

“With more vehicle models available than ever before coupled with the rapidly expanding charging infrastructure, central Ohio drivers are adopting electric vehicles at record rates,” said Jordan Davis, director, Smart Cities for the Columbus Partnership, which has partnered with the City of Columbus to increase electric vehicle adoption in central Ohio by 486% by 2020 through the Smart Columbus initiative. “Beyond being more sustainable than combustion engine vehicles, electric vehicles are more exciting to drive, more convenient to use and more affordable to own. Electric vehicles are emerging as the new normal for personal vehicles and we are excited to see the increase in adoption in central Ohio.”

In 2016, AAA Ohio Auto Club partnered with Nissan’s nrg EVgo program to install electric vehicle charging stations at five locations. These include:

AAA Worthington, 90 E. Wilson Bridge Road, Worthington

AAA Car Care Plus: Columbus Northwest, 1335 Bethel Road, Columbus

AAA Gahanna New Albany, 5486 N. Hamilton Road, Columbus

AAA Car Care Plus Reynoldsburg, 6971 E. Broad St., Columbus

AAA Car Care Plus: Dublin West, 6600 Perimeter Loop Road, Dublin

Drivers can access charging station location through AAA’s Mobile app or TripTik planner. Additional survey data, study methodology, graphics, photos and video can be found at

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 58 million members with travel-, insurance-, financial- and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited online at

Ohio Scenic Byways participated in Ohio Tourism Day

Ohio Department of Transportation

Governor declares May 9 Ohio Tourism Day, encourages families to plan their getaways

COLUMBUS – In celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week, the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Ohio Scenic Byways will join 90 attractions, visitor bureaus, restaurants, lodging, retail, and other tourism businesses exhibiting at Ohio Tourism Day on May 9, as proclaimed by Governor John R. Kasich. Hosted by TourismOhio, Tourism Day encourages visitors to plan their Ohio getaways by showcasing the Ohio experiences families and friends can enjoy. Ohio Tourism Day is a free event and will take place on the Ohio Statehouse West Plaza in Columbus.

“From the rolling hills of southern Ohio to the shores of Lake Erie, Ohio’s 27 scenic byways offer travelers a chance to discover Ohio’s beauty and history,” said Ohio Byways Program Manager Thomas Barrett. “We’re excited to promote these unique travel experiences during Ohio Tourism Day.”

May is also Drive Ohio Byways Month in the state.

“Ohio Tourism Day is the perfect opportunity to Find It Here.” said Ohio Tourism Director, Matt MacLaren. “The weather is getting nice, school is almost out, and it is a great time to plan your next trip at!”

During Ohio Tourism Day, visitors can enjoy live music, see animals from the zoo up close, hop on a wave runner simulator, tap their feet along with Irish step dancers, take a trip to many of Ohio’s incredible destinations through virtual reality and more. The event will be emceed by Emmy award-winning TV personality Cameron Fontana. A full list of participating attractions and events is available at

Ohio Tourism Day showcases the depth and diversity of Ohio’s travel offerings while providing a taste of the joy, togetherness and exhilaration they can find by traveling in Ohio. All exhibitors, attendees, tourism businesses, and people planning their Ohio trip are encouraged to post their photos from the day with #OhioFindItHere and #OhioTourismDay.

About TourismOhio

TourismOhio, operating within the state of Ohio’s Development Services Agency, works to ensure Ohio is positioned as a destination of choice, enriching lives through authentic travel experiences. The branding, Ohio. Find It Here., supports Ohio’s $43 billion tourism industry. For more, visit

About Ohio Byways

The Ohio Scenic Byway Program is a grass-roots effort to heighten awareness of our State’s historical and intrinsic resources: cultural, historical, archaeological, recreational, natural and scenic — which collectively enhance the overall traveling experience. There are currently 27 Ohio Scenic Byways. Learn more about them all by clicking here.

Riverboat Days Coming to Marietta

MARIETTA (May 7, 2018) – Two of the largest sternwheeler boats on the Ohio River system are scheduled for stops in Marietta this summer, and in July they’ll be docked at the city on two of the same days.

The Queen of the Mississippi, a 150-passenger riverboat that cruises the Ohio, Mississippi, and Cumberland river system, is scheduled to stop in Marietta on four days: June 24, June 28, July 14, and July 18. The American Queen, hailed as the largest steamboat ever built, will arrive in Marietta on July 14 and July 18. In addition, multiple calliope artists will be performing downtown on July 14.

The presence of these two ships on coinciding dates is expected to bring many visitors to town. The giant sternwheelers will spend several hours in port, and Marietta offers multiple river-related activities for sightseers to experience while in town for the exciting Riverboat Days.

Tours of the visiting sternwheelers are not available, but Marietta has its very own sternwheeler in town, the Valley Gem, which offers narrated sightseeing tours. Right next door to the Valley Gem visitors can take in the Ohio River Museum and explore the WP Snyder tow boat exhibit. On display will be many objects and photographs highlighting stories that will take you from the pilothouse to the engine room of this 100 year-old vessel.

Enjoy the river alongside the Queens! Rent a kayak from the Marietta Adventure Company (MAC) and spend the afternoon on the water. For landlubbers, the MAC also rents out bicycles to hit the trails. Ride along the river trail on a Segway with Scott’s Super Adventures.

Check the Marietta CVB website for schedule updates and vacation special itineraries for these riverboat days.

Ohio Magazine deemed Marietta a Best Hometown of 2018. Quaint downtown ships, a great election of independent restaurants, historic sites and evening entertainment options makes this riverboat town a great weekend getaway destination.

Gov. Kasich Signs Executive Order Authorizing Autonomous Vehicle Testing in Ohio


Ohio Governor John R. Kasich signed an executive order on May 9, 2018 to authorize autonomous vehicle testing in Ohio and to lay out a roadmap for how the automotive industry can test their technologies in the state.

“Ohio is well positioned to lead in developing the cars of the future, and just as Wright Brothers did at Huffman Prairie, our great state stands ready to once again launch a new era in transportation,” said Kasich. “We have the diversity in weather and terrain that are essential to advancing these new technologies. The sooner these vehicles are safely fine-tuned, the sooner they can make a significant reduction in the 40,000 traffic deaths we have in this country every year.”

The executive order lays out the statewide requirements for autonomous vehicle testing on any Ohio public road or highway. Companies that want to test autonomous vehicles will have to register with DriveOhio, assure their vehicle can operate safely, and comply with all traffic laws. There must be a designated operator who is responsible for the vehicle at all times.

It also creates a pilot program to let DriveOhio connect our cities with companies who are looking for the best places in Ohio to refine their technologies.

“The executive order strikes a strong balance between allowing innovators to test and refine their technologies, while ensuring the safety of the pedestrians, bicyclists and other motorists in the state,” said Jim Barna, DriveOhio’s Executive Director.

Already a leader in smart vehicle technology, Ohio is investing in infrastructure upgrades that will allow devices on roads and traffic-control signals to send critical travel and weather information to drivers. This infrastructure will also help improve emergency response times and will allow traffic managers to better manage congestion. Current initiatives already underway in Ohio include four smart road projects covering 164 miles of roadway, and two smart city projects.

DriveOhio was created by Governor Kasich in January 2018 to bring together those who are responsible for building infrastructure in Ohio with those who are developing the advanced mobility technologies needed to allow our transportation system to reach its full potential.

The Magic Kingdom in Orlando. Magic Kingdom in Orlando.


For more information and to begin planning a trip, visit

For more information and to begin planning a trip, visit