AAA predicts largest number of Ohio Thanksgiving travelers since 2005

AAA predicts 48.7 million Americans, including more than 2 million Ohioans will travel at least 50 miles from home this Thanksgiving holiday weekend, Wednesday, Nov. 23 to Sunday, Nov. 27. This is a 1.9 percent increase (2.1 percent in Ohio) from last year, and the most Thanksgiving travelers since 2007 nationally (since 2005 in Ohio).

Economy and Gas Prices Drive Travel:

Economic improvements during the second half of the year, including rising wages, increased consumer spending and overall strength in consumer confidence is helping to drive this year’s increase in Thanksgiving travel.

In addition, AAA estimates U.S. drivers have saved more than $28 billion so far at the pumps this year, compared to the same period last year. While gas prices are now in line with, or even above, year-ago levels, earlier 2016 savings have helped increase disposable income available for travel this holiday.

“One million more Americans than last year will carve out time to visit with friends and family this Thanksgiving,” said AAA president and CEO Marshall Doney. “Most will travel on the tried and true holiday road trip, thanks to gas prices that are holding close to $2 per gallon.”

Automobile Travel:

Roads will be crowded this holiday, with about 89 percent of Americans (90 percent of Ohioans) planning to drive to their destination this Thanksgiving. This marks an increase of 1.9 percent nationally (2.4 percent in Ohio) from last Thanksgiving.

More than 370,000 people will request roadside assistance this Thanksgiving holiday weekend for dead batteries, flat tires, lockouts and more. AAA reminds motorists to prepare their vehicle and plan ahead for holiday travel.

Ongoing and active construction projects will impact traffic throughout the state, but ODOT will try to reduce their impact as much as possible over the holiday weekend. With nearly 5,000 work zone crashes this year, including 26 deaths and more than 150 serious injuries, motorists must pay attention to reduce work zone crashes.

Safety belts safe lives and reduce injury in crashes. From 2012-2014, more than half of the people killed on Ohio’s roadways were not wearing a safety belt. Ohio State Highway Patrol Troopers remind motorists to do their part in keeping roadways safe this Thanksgiving.

Air Travel:

Nearly 3.7 million Americans (more than 144,000 Ohioans) will fly to their destination this holiday. This marks a 1.6 percent increase nationally (0.5 percent decrease in Ohio) from last year. After last year’s low airfares, rates will increase 21 percent this Thanksgiving to an average of $205 round trip for the top 40 domestic flight routes, according to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index.

Hotel and Rental Car Rates:

Rates for AAA Three Diamond lodgings will remain flat, with travelers spending an average of $155 per night. The average rate for a AAA Two Diamond Rated hotel is four percent higher than last year, at $123 per night. Daily car rental rates will average $52, which is 13 percent lower than last Thanksgiving.