Nearly 2.2 million Ohioans expected to travel over Thanksgiving holiday

New AAA poll of Ohio drivers finds COVID concerns have dropped dramatically

Submitted by AAA

DAYTON — AAA is projecting that nearly 2.2 million Ohioans will travel over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, an increase of more than 13 percent over last year — making it the fourth highest number of Thanksgiving travelers since AAA starting reporting data.

As usual, the great majority of those travelers will be driving to their holiday destinations. AAA is projecting that nearly 2 million Ohioans will be hitting the road – the fourth highest number since AAA has been keeping record.

The dramatic bounce back in travel compared to last year is in keeping with the findings of a new AAA poll of Ohio residents. Only 7 percent feel traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday poses a ‘significant’ risk for COVID. This in contrast to a similar poll last year where more than 34 percent felt holiday travel posed ‘significant’ risk for COVID.

“Both the Thanksgiving travel projections and the results of AAA’s statewide poll tell the same story. Thanksgiving travelers see COVID in the rear view mirror and they are looking forward to returning to the pre-pandemic tradition of gathering with family and friends,” says Kara Hitchens, spokesperson for AAA. “Travelers should expect – and plan for – both the roadways and airports to be as busy as ever.”

AAA projects that the number of Ohioans driving to their destinations (1.9 million) will be up almost 8 percent over last year and nearly 6 percent below auto travel for Thanksgiving 2019.

Locally, AAA is projecting that about 159,500 people in the Miami Valley area plan to travel for the holiday. That number is nearly a 14 percent increase over 2020. Again, the majority of people will drive — 16.7 percent .

AAA is projecting 193,330 Ohioans will take to the skies, a jump of more than 81 percent over last year, but still down nearly 4 percent from the number of Ohioans flying over the Thanksgiving holiday in 2019.

A closer look at the Miami Valley area, AAA predicts 14,424 people will fly to their destinations — up nearly 83 percent over 2020.

AAA is projecting that nearly 42,000 Ohioans will travel by bus, train or some other mode of transportation over the holiday weekend, a jump of almost 263 percent over last year when travel in a group setting was by far as low as it has been since AAA has been keeping record. But, the 2021 numbers are still 29 percent below 2019.

AAA defines the Thanksgiving holiday as the five-day period from Wednesday, Nov. 24-Sunday, Nov. 28.

AAA predicts that 53.4 million people will travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, up 13 percent from 2020, with 90 percent (48.3 million) taking to the roads. While that is the biggest year-over-year bounce in Thanksgiving travel since 2005, nationwide, the overall travel volume still lags 2019 by about 5 percent .

Gas Prices

The national gas price average as of Monday, Nov. 15 is $3.41, an increase of $1.29 over last year and the highest gas prices have been at this time of year since 2013. Historically, higher gas prices have not kept travelers home. Instead, they adjust their budgets to spend less on other expenses such as meals or lodging. But, AAA’s poll of Ohio residents found that more than a third (32 percent ) of those not driving a significant distance for the holiday, said that gas prices did play a role in that decision.

New AAA poll of Ohio drivers finds COVID concerns have dropped dramatically

Submitted by AAA