PRESS RELEASE – AAA estimates 112.7 million people, including more than 4.6 million Ohioans, will travel 50 miles or more from home between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2. That’s an increase of 3.3% nationally (2.6% for Ohio) and closing in on the pre-pandemic record set in 2019.
This year-end holiday travel period is expected to be the third busiest nationally (second busiest for Ohio) since AAA began tracking in 2000. Only 2018 and 2019 saw more people traveling during the year-end holidays. Ohio’s travel numbers are expected to be about 200,000 travelers shy of the 2019 record.
“This year, travel time will be extended due to Christmas Day and New Year’s Day falling on Sundays,” says Paula Twidale, AAA’s Senior Vice President of Travel. “With hybrid work schedules, we are seeing more people take long weekends to travel because they can work remotely at their destination and be more flexible with the days they depart and return.”
Nearly 102 million Americans (more than 4.2 million Ohioans) will drive to their holiday destinations. Despite roller-coaster gas prices in 2022, this holiday season will see an additional 2 million drivers compared to 2021 nationally (about 60,000 more in Ohio).
With more than 90% of American travelers (91% of Ohio travelers) planning holiday road trips, AAA expects to respond to nearly 900,000 calls for emergency roadside assistance during the 11-day holiday travel period. Automotive experts encourage drivers to ensure their vehicles are road-trip-ready by checking key vehicle components like tires, battery, fluid levels and lights before hitting the road.
INRIX, a provider of transportation analytics and insights, expects the most congested days on the road will be Friday before Christmas, Dec. 27 and 28, and Monday, Jan. 2, as travelers mix with commuters. Nationwide, drivers could see travel times up to 25% longer.
“With pre-pandemic levels of travelers hitting the road this holiday, drivers must be prepared for delays in and around major metro areas, with Tuesday, Dec. 27 expected to be the nation’s worst day to travel,” says Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Our advice is to avoid traveling during peak commuting hours. If schedules allow, leave bright and early or after the afternoon commute.”
Air travel will see a 14% increase over last year (12.8% in Ohio), with nearly 7.2 million Americans (more than 258,000 Ohioans) expected to fly. Flights and airports will be packed this holiday season, reminiscent of pre-pandemic days.
AAA expects the number of Americans taking holiday flights will come close to matching 2019 when 7.3 million Americans flew. In Ohio, the number of air travelers is set to exceed 2019, when 257,000 Ohioans flew.
Demand for flights has surged despite higher airline prices. According to AAA’s Leisure Travel Index, the average price of the lowest round trip airfare for Christmas is up 6% from last year at $163.
AAA urges air travelers to pack their patience, plan for possible delays and cancellations, and get to the airport 2-3 hours ahead of scheduled flights.
Other Modes of Transportation:
Other modes of transportation are also rebounding in a big way. AAA estimates travel by bus, rail, and cruise ship will rise to 3.6 million (150,000 Ohioans) this holiday season, a 23% increase (23.4% for Ohio) from last year and nearly 94% of 2019’s volume (13% higher than 2019 in Ohio).
Year-End Holiday Travel Period
For purposes of this forecast, the year-end holiday travel period is defined as the 11-day period from Friday, December 23 to Monday, January 2. This period is the same length as the 2021/2022 year-end travel period.
The year-end holiday travel period can range from 10 to 13 days, depending on which day of the week Christmas Day and New Year’s Day fall. All the year-end holiday periods contain two weekends.
Started in 1902 by automotive enthusiasts who wanted to chart a path for better roads in America and advocate for safe mobility, AAA has transformed into one of North America’s largest membership organizations. Today, AAA provides roadside assistance, travel, discounts, financial and insurance services to enhance the life journey of 62 million members across North America, including 56 million in the United States. To learn more about all AAA has to offer or to become a member, visit AAA.com.
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DK SHIFFLET boasts the industry’s most complete database on U.S. resident travel both in the U.S. and worldwide. Data is collected monthly from a U.S. representative sample, adding over 60,000 traveling households annually, and is used daily by leading travel organizations and their strategic planning groups. DK SHIFFLET is an MMGY Global company.
Founded in 2004, INRIX pioneered intelligent mobility solutions by transforming big data from connected devices and vehicles into mobility insights. This revolutionary approach enabled INRIX to become one of the leading providers of data and analytics into how people move. By empowering cities, businesses, and people with valuable insights, INRIX is helping to make the world smarter, safer, and greener. With partners and solutions spanning across the entire mobility ecosystem, INRIX is uniquely positioned at the intersection of technology and transportation – whether it’s keeping road users safe, improving traffic signal timing to reduce delay and greenhouse gasses, optimizing last-mile delivery, or helping uncover market insights. Learn more at INRIX.com.