May 27—COLUMBUS — The American Automobile Association predicts that more Americans will be taking to the highways during the Memorial Day Weekend than last year but it will cost you more at the pump.
Of course, last year, we were under travel restrictions due to the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a news release, AAA Travel predicts more than 37 million Americans (nearly 1.7 million Ohioans) are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home. That's an increase of 60% nationally (nearly 57% in Ohio) from last year when only 23 million Americans (just over 900,000 Ohioans) traveled, the lowest on record since AAA began recording in 2000.
"This pent-up demand will result in a significant increase in Memorial Day travel, which is a strong indicator for summer," said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel.
Many Ohioans are booking local vacations to Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland. Other popular domestic destinations for Ohio travelers include Nashville, TN; Indianapolis, IN and Pittsburgh, PA. AAA travel agents also report a strong interest in National Parks and RV vacations.
Many people are flying to their destinations but AAA reports that 95% of Ohioans will drive to their destinations this Memorial Day. This is 52% higher than 2020 but 9% less than 2019 both nationally and in Ohio.
GasBuddy predicts that a gallon of gas will cost on average $2.98 on Memorial Day which is a $1.02 jump over last year.
This will be the highest gas has been on Memorial Day since 2014 when a gallon of gas reached $3.66.
A national survey commissioned by Erie Insurance asked what were drivers' top concerns about other drivers.
They were texting (50%), road rage (18%), speeding (14%), tailgating (12%) and failing to yield (3%)
The study also showed 51% said they plan to take at least one road trip vacation this year and of those, 14% plan to drive 1,000 miles or more on their trip.
AAA wants people to exercise caution when around others to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated its domestic travel guidance to state that fully vaccinated people can travel domestically at low risk to themselves while taking proper precautions.
AAA Travel notes that the actual number of holiday travelers could fluctuate if there's an increase in reported cases attributed to new COVID-19 variants. Some people may choose to stay home, while others may note the strong progress in vaccinations and make last-minute decisions to travel.
GasBuddy predicts that 57% of Americans plan to take at least one road trip this summer, up from only 31% last summer.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.