CINCINNATI – Given public health concerns around COVID-19, AAA Travel is projecting that fewer Ohioans will travel for the year-end holiday season. In fact, across Ohio, the number of people expected to travel for the year-end holiday is down nearly 30% compared to last year.
AAA is projecting that almost 1,438,357 fewer Ohioans will be getting away for the holiday, typically a popular time of year for vacations.
“While Thanksgiving tends to be a long weekend spent with family or friends, the year-end holiday is typically a time for longer getaways and vacations – but not this year,” says Jenifer Moore, AAA spokesperson. “And, COVID-19 is definitely the difference.”
Holiday travelers are continuing to take a wait-and-see approach to their travel decisions. With COVID‑19 cases steadily increasing this month, the expected continued rise will likely prompt some Americans to make last minute decisions to not follow through with upcoming travel plans, which was the trend during the lead up to Thanksgiving.
AAA projects at least 34 million fewer travelers compared to last year’s holiday season, a decline of at least 29%. Still, as many as 84.5 million Americans may still travel from Dec. 23 through Jan. 3.
Over the year-end holiday, AAA is projecting 26% fewer Ohioans will be traveling by auto compared to last year. Auto travel is expected to replace some trips previously taken by bus, train or airplane, given the flexibility, security and comfort traveling by car provides.
For those who decide to hit the road for the year-end holidays, gas prices remain nearly 50 cents cheaper than this time last year.
“Typically, cheaper gas prices are an incentive for last minute trips, especially around the holidays. But the lower prices and less traffic this year aren’t driving decisions to hit the road. Ohioans are looking to the public health landscape and cancelling or re-thinking year-end travel,” Moore added.