AAA expects nearly 1.5 million Ohioans will travel for the unofficial start of summer
COLUMBUS, Ohio (May 17, 2022) – The unofficial start to summer will be the busiest since 2019.
AAA predicts 39.2 million people (nearly 1.5 million Ohioans) will travel 50 miles or more from home this Memorial Day weekend, May 26-31. This is an increase of 8.3% over 2021 (6.9% increase for Ohio) and brings volumes closer to pre-pandemic levels.
“Memorial Day is always a good predictor of what’s to come for summer travel,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel. “Based on our projections, summer travel isn’t just heating up, it will be on fire. People are overdue for a vacation and they are looking to catch up on some much-needed R&R in the coming months.”
Holiday Road Trips Remain Popular:
Despite historic gas prices, breaching the $4 mark in early March and Ohio’s average hitting record highs this month, 34.9 million Americans (nearly 1.4 million Ohioans) plan to travel by car. This is up 4.6% over last year nationally (4.1% in Ohio).
While road trips remain the main form of travel this holiday, a greater portion of travelers are opting for air and other modes of travel than last year. Share of car travel for Ohio travelers is expected to fall from 94% in 2021 to 92%. However, it’s still expected to be higher than 2019, when 90% of Ohio travelers drove to their destination.
Travelers should expect busy roads this holiday weekend, particularly during the afternoons on Thursday May 26 and Friday May 27, according to INRIX. Drivers in major U.S. metros could experience double the travel times compared to a normal trip.
“Even with a significant increase in gas prices, we expect a large jump in holiday driving compared to the last few years”, says Bob Pishue, transportation analyst, INRIX. “Drivers should expect congestion on major roadways around big cities and popular destinations. Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic.”
Daily Worst and Best Times to Travel (source, INRIX):
.Thursday: Worst time, 1-8 p.m. Best time, before 6 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
.Friday: Worst time, noon-7 p.m. Best time, before 7 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
.Saturday: Worst time, 1-6 .m. Best time, before 10 a.m.
.Sunday: Worst time, 1-4 p.m. Best time, before 10 a.m.
.Memorial Day: Worst time, 1-4 p.m. Best time, before 11 a.m.
AAA recommends drivers prepare for their holiday road trip by getting a full vehicle inspection. AAA expects to respond to more than 388,000 calls for help over the Memorial Day holiday weekend. To help avoid breakdowns, get key components checked like the battery, fuel system, tires, brakes and fluid levels. Just in case, make sure your vehicle’s emergency kit is fully stocked.
Air Travel Soars:
Air travel continues to rebound, up 25% over last year (19.5% in Ohio). With volumes closing in on pre-pandemic levels, AAA urges travelers to prepare for busy airports this holiday weekend.
Air travel volume began to rally last Thanksgiving and will hit levels just shy of 2019 this Memorial Day weekend, with 3 million Americans (more than 71,000 Ohioans) expected to take to the skies.
Air travel will also account for a larger share of the overall travel volume this Memorial Day weekend, with 7.7% of American travelers (4.8% of Ohio travelers) flying. Last Memorial Day, air travel accounted for 6.7% of national travel (4.2% of Ohio travel).
Based on AAA booking data, Thursday, May 26, is shaping up to be the busiest day for air travel during the Memorial Day travel period, with Memorial Day being the lightest.
“Air travel has faced several challenges since the beginning of the year,” continued Twidale. “With the type of volume we anticipate, we continue to recommend the safety net of a travel agent and travel insurance. Both are a lifesaver if something unexpectedly derails your travel plans.”
Higher Travel Costs:
Flights, car rentals, accommodations, tours, cruises and other activities are in high demand and availability is filling up. Prices are skewing higher, and with greater demand, finding last-minute deals is unlikely.
.Air—AAA finds that the average lowest airfare is 6% more than last year coming in at $184/ticket with Saturday being the most expensive day to fly and Memorial Day the least.
.Hotels—Mid-range hotel rates have increased about 42%, with the average lowest nightly rates ranging between approximately $199 – $257/night for AAA Approved Hotels.
.Car Rentals—Daily car rental rates have decreased 16% compared to last year, with the average lowest rate coming in at $100/day.
Record Growth for Cruises, Buses and Trains:
Travel by other modes of transportation is expected to grow by 200% nationally (206% in Ohio), the highest year-over-year growth on record.
A recent AAA survey found cruise vacations are still a favorite choice among travelers, with 41% of Americans considering a cruise in the future. Millennials are even more eager, as over half (52%) say they are ready to return to the open seas. AAA Travel booking data shows that cruising is making a strong comeback, with 2022 bookings near pre-pandemic levels.
Despite the growth, travel by all other modes of transportation (cruises, buses and trains) remains almost 30% below 2019 levels nationally (36% in Ohio) this Memorial Day weekend.
Big Cities and Beaches are Top Destinations
AAA booking data reveals that big cities and beaches are top destinations this Memorial Day, both domestically and abroad.
Top U.S. destinations include:
- Orlando, FL
- Seattle, WA
- Miami, FL
- Las Vegas, NV
- Anaheim, CA
- New York, NY
- Denver, CO
- Anchorage AK
- Boston, MA
- Honolulu, HI
Top international destinations include:
- Vancouver, Canada
- Dublin Ireland
- Paris, France
- Rome, Italy
- London, England
- Cancun, Mexico
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Barcelona, Spain
- Nassau, Bahamas
Remember – Stay Safe and Patient
AAA suggests reducing stress by:
.Arriving at the airport at least two hours early for domestic flights and three hours for international.
.Consider booking a flight during non-peak travel periods to cut down on wait times.
.Hitting the road when there’s less traffic and allowing extra time when traveling to your destination.
While most COVID-19 restrictions have eased, it’s important to keep safety in mind for yourself and others. Everything from airports to restaurants to attractions will be busier this Memorial Day, which means more people congregating. AAA advises travelers to follow CDC guidance, which at this time is still recommending that people wear masks in indoor public transportation settings (airports, bus/train terminals, public transportation like subways/metros, airplanes, trains and buses).