CINCINNATI–More than 2 million Ohioans will take to the nation’s roadways and skies this Independence Day (July 1-5), as travel volumes are expected to nearly fully recover to pre-pandemic levels.
While all modes of travel will see increased demand this Independence day, the Great American Road Trip continues to dominate this summer. Despite the highest gas prices in seven years, 95% of holiday travel in Ohio will be by car.
An expected 1.9 million Ohioans will drive to their destinations, the highest on record for this holiday and 1.3% more than the previous record set in 2019. Motorists have driven the number back up almost 19% over 2020’s pandemic 4th of July holiday.
“Travel is in full swing this summer, as Americans eagerly pursue travel opportunities they’ve deferred for the last year-and-a-half,” said Jenifer Moore, AAA spokeswoman. “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.”
Before hitting the road, AAA reminds motorists to plan their route in advance and help avoid a breakdown along the way by ensuring their vehicle is ready. AAA expects to rescue more than 4,600 Ohioans at the roadside this Independence Day weekend.
With more than 73,000 Ohioans planning to fly, air travel volumes this Independence Day will reach 82.8% of pre-pandemic levels, an increase of 126% compared to last year.
Another 27,495 Ohioans are expected to travel by other modes this Independence Day, an increase of over 45% compared to last year, but 83% lower than in 2019. This includes travel by bus and train, and also the return of cruising. Cruise lines have announced limited sailings resuming from U.S. ports beginning in late June.
AAA Travel booking indicate a strong travel recovery for summer. National parks, Phoenix and other areas in Arizona, and beach areas along the East Coast from Georgia to Maine are popular destinations for the holiday, according to local AAA Travel Advisors.
Nationwide, theme parks in Orlando and southern California, as well destinations including Denver, Las Vegas, and Seattle, are topping the list of Independence Day destinations this year.
While AAA found 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 inventory of new vehicles in time to meet the increased demand for domestic road travel.
The 1.9 million Ohioans expected to travel by car this Independence Day can expect gas prices to be the most expensive since 2014, with the national average likely to remain above $3 per gallon.
“Higher gas prices won’t deter road trippers this summer. In fact, we’re expecting record-breaking levels of car travel this July Fourth,” continued Moore. “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.”
For more information and for joining or renewing a AAA membership, visit www.AAA.com.