LIMA — Expect another busy travel weekend with an estimated 2.3 million Ohioans planning to travel at least 50 miles from home between Wednesday and Sunday, Dec. 1.
While gas prices are projected to reach a five-year high — averaging around $2.56 nationally, up one cent from last Thanksgiving, according to GasBuddy estimates — AAA found that 53% more Ohioans plan to travel this Thanksgiving weekend than the state’s recession low in 2009.
“Strong economic fundamentals are motivating Americans to venture out this holiday in near-record numbers,” Paula Twidale, vice president of AAA Travel, said in a statement about the agency’s annual holiday travel survey. “Consumer spending remains strong, thanks to increasing wages, disposable income and household wealth. And travel remains one of their top priorities for the holiday season.”
Busiest time to travel?
The Ohio Department of Transportation anticipates traffic to increase 63% this weekend. While ODOT will suspend road work between Wednesday and Sunday, motorists traveling through major metropolitan areas should still expect delays, particularly during peak travel times.
In fact, AAA estimates traveling through major metro areas can take up to four times longer than usual on Wednesday afternoon, the busiest travel day of the weekend.
Airports will be packed too, with an estimated 195,000 Ohioans and 4.45 million Americans expected to fly to their holiday destinations this year — up 4.6% nationally over 2018, according to AAA.
Travelers should arrive early to account for congested traffic and long security lines — AAA suggests arriving at least two hours ahead of the flight’s scheduled departure.
Gas prices were already rising on Tuesday afternoon, averaging $2.41 per gallon in the Lima area, according to national gas price analyst GasBuddy. That’s up 29 cents from last year’s average of $2.12 and up 3 cents from Monday.
But prices appear slightly lower here than the national average, which GasBuddy anticipates will peak around $2.56 nationally this weekend.
Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.