Record Number of Ohioans Will Hit the Road This 4th of July Weekend

Written on June 22, 2021

Overall Ohio Independence Day travel expected to be third highest on record

COLUMBUS, Ohio (June 22, 2021)—More than 47.7 million Americans, including more than two million Ohioans will travel this Independence Day holiday weekend (July 1-5), as travel volumes are expected to nearly recover to pre-pandemic levels.

Nationally, AAA expects the second-highest Independence Day travel volume on record, trailing only 2019.

In Ohio, AAA expects the third-highest Independence Day travel volume on record, trailing 2019 and 2018. Auto travel will hit record numbers both nationally and in Ohio.

“Travel is in full swing this summer, as Americans eagerly pursue travel opportunities they’ve deferred for the last year-and-a-half,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel. “We saw strong demand for travel around Memorial Day and the kick-off of summer, and all indications now point to a busy Independence Day to follow.”

How Ohio Numbers Compare:

Overall, just 2.5% fewer Americans (5.75% fewer Ohioans) are expected to travel this year compared to Independence Day 2019. This represents an increase of nearly 40% nationally and 21% in Ohio from last year.

Ohio’s expected travel increase is smaller than the national increase, because Independence Day holiday travel did not decline as steeply in Ohio last year as it did nationwide. Ohio’s Independence Day travel dropped 22% last year, compared to 30% nationally. Indiana was the only state that saw a smaller travel decline than Ohio last Independence Day.

Road Trips are King:

Despite the highest gas prices in seven years, road trips continue to dominate this summer. For Independence Day:

.More than 91% of travel (95% in Ohio) will be by car.

.A record 43.6 million Americans (more than 1.9 million Ohioans) will drive to their destinations, beating the previous record set in 2019.

.The predicted number of auto travelers is 9.2 million more nationally (nearly 542,000 more in Ohio) than this year’s Memorial Day travel forecast.

“Higher gas prices won’t deter road trippers this summer. In fact, we’re expecting record-breaking levels of car travel this July Fourth,” said Jeanette C. McGee, AAA spokesperson. “Though prices will remain above $3 a gallon, travelers are likely to look for more free activities or eat out less, but still take their vacations as planned.”

With so many on the road, AAA expects to rescue more than 460,000 Americans with roadside assistance this Independence Day weekend. AAA reminds motorists to ensure their vehicle is road-trip-ready, to help avoid a breakdown along the way. Also, remember to pack an emergency roadside kit, along with extra snacks and cleaning supplies.

Long Delays Expected for Drivers:

INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the worst congestion heading into the holiday weekend, as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers.

Drivers can also expect heavy traffic Monday afternoon, as travelers return home.

Date Worst Time to Travel Best Time to Travel

Thursday 3:00 – 5:00PM After 7:00PM

Friday 4:00 – 5:00PM Before 12:00PM

Saturday 11:00AM – 1:00PM After 2:00PM

Sunday Free flow expected

Monday 4:00 – 5:00PM Before 1:00PM

Air Travel Rebounding:

With 3.5 million Americans (nearly 74,000 Ohioans) planning to fly, air travel volumes this Independence Day will reach 90% of pre-pandemic levels nationally (82% in Ohio), and increase 164% (125.6% in Ohio) compared to last year.

Air travelers are encouraged to pack their patience and prepare for long lines at TSA checkpoints. AAA recommends air travelers arrive at the airport two hours before their scheduled flight.

Also, remember masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States, and in U.S. transportation hubs, such as airports and stations. However, masks are no longer required in outdoor transit hubs and in outdoor spaces on ferries, buses and trolleys, due to the lower risk of coronavirus transmission outdoors.

Travelers Prepare for Higher Prices:

While average airfares have declined 2% compared to last Independence Day, travelers can expect to find higher prices for hotels and car rentals as demand climbs.

.Mid-range hotel rates have increased between 32% and 35%, with average nightly rates ranging between $156 and $398 for AAA Two Diamond and AAA Three Diamond hotels, respectively.

.Daily car rental rates have increased 86% compared to last Independence Day, topping out at $166. Consumers have experienced high costs and limited availability of rental cars in some markets, due to the chip shortage impacting auto manufacturers. This production delay has presented a domino effect as rental car companies work to increase their vehicle inventory to meet the increased demand for domestic road travel.

Top Destinations:

AAA Travel booking data indicates a strong travel recovery for summer. Based on national AAA Travel advance air and tour booking data, top Independence Day travel destinations include:

  1. Orlando, FL
  2. Anaheim, CA
  3. Denver, CO
  4. Las Vegas, NV
  5. Seattle, WA
  6. Chicago, IL
  7. New York, NY
  8. Atlanta, GA
  9. Boston, MA

10.Kahului, Maui, HI

COVID-19 Tips for Travelers:

While many aspects of daily life start to return closer to a pre-pandemic normal, AAA cautions that the travel landscape has changed. Remember to exercise caution while traveling, and consider working with a travel agent to plan your trip. They can help if you need to make any last-minute changes to travel plans, explore travel insurance options and help you plan a vacation that meets your needs and comfort-level.

Although the CDC advises fully vaccinated people can travel domestically at low risk to themselves, it’s important to keep in mind that some local and state travel restrictions may still remain in place. Travelers can refer to AAA’s COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map and TripTik.AAA.com for the latest information to help plan their trip.

For travelers who are not vaccinated but choose to travel, CDC recommends that you practice social distancing, wear a mask, wash your hands and get tested for COVID-19 before and after travel.


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