Manager, Public and Government Affairs, OH
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June 28, 2021 –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 Micki Dudas, Managing Director, AAA Leisure Travel. “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.”
For the Great American Road Trip AAA has compiled our favorite trip-planning resources, backed by more than 100 years of road-tested experience and expertise to help members prepare, safe and confident about their travel journey. AAA.com/RoadTrip is a free resource to help travelers find inspiration, explore destinations, plan the perfect route and get their vehicle road trip-ready.
Make Sure Your Car is Road Trip-Ready
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 4,6000 Ohioans at the roadside this Independence Day weekend.
In an effort to ensure cars are road-ready, the auto club is now offering a free “Great American Road Trip Vehicle Health Inspection” to both members and non-members at any AAA Car Care Center through the end of July. This free inspection includes tire, brake, battery, exterior lights and fluid level safety checks. Appointments can be scheduled at AAA.com/CarCare. In addition, AAA is offering free flat tire repair to members (just $9.99 for non-members) and $50 off any repair/service of $150 or more ($35 off any repair /service of $150 or more for non-members).
Air Travel and Other Modes of Transportation
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.
For those who make the personal decision to take a cruise, AAA reminds them that a travel advisor can offer advice on cancellation policies, what you can expect on your cruise, and travel insurance options to help protect your health and travel investment before and during your vacation.
Where are Ohioans Traveling for the Independence Day Holiday Weekend?
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.
When planning a trip, refer to the new AAA Digital TourBook guides, now available for destinations across the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean at TourBook.AAA.com. Available on smartphone, tablet or desktop, the new interactive guides feature detailed destination information, must-see attractions, sample itineraries and more.
Travelers: Prepare for Higher Prices
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 Dudas. “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.”
AAA members can save on gas by joining the Fuel Rewards at Shell program. Save 30 cents per gallon on your first fill-up at Shell when you join between July 1 and August 31, 2021. Join now at AAA.com/Shell.
AAA offers the following tips for a safe and enjoyable Independence Day travel experience:
- Use a travel advisor. They can help make any last-minute changes to travel plans, explore travel insurance options and plan a vacation that meets your needs and comfort-level this summer.
- Travel safely. For travelers who are not vaccinated but choose to travel, CDC recommends that you practice social distancing, wear a mask, wash your hands and get tested for COVID-19 before and after travel. Regardless of vaccination status, masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
- Don’t Drive Intexticated. Put the smartphone down or give to a passenger while driving.
- Slow Down, Move Over. Move Over! Be mindful of construction and emergency workers on the roads.
- If traveling by air. Check your flight status before leaving for the airport. Consider signing up for text or mobile app alerts from your airline for the latest flight information.
- Stay informed. Although the CDC advises that fully vaccinated people can travel domestically at low risk to themselves, it’s important to keep in mind that some local and state travel restrictions may still remain in place. Travelers can refer to AAA’s COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map and TripTik.AAA.com for the latest information to help plan their trip.
AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to more than 62 million members nationwide and nearly two and a half million members in Ohio. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a non-stock, membership corporation working on behalf of motorists, who can map a route, access a COVID travel restriction map, find local gas prices and electric vehicle charging stations, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information on joining or renewing a Membership, visit www.AAA.com.