Ohio Thanksgiving travel at highest volume in a dozen years

WTVG - AAA forecasts more than 2 million Ohioans will travel for Thanksgiving representing a 3.5 percent increase over 2016 with the majority traveling on the road. This increase is despite prices at the pump averaging more than 20 cents higher than last Thanksgiving for regular gas. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, Nov. 22 to Sunday, Nov. 26.

“There will be more Ohioans on the roads this year primarily because the economy is strong,” says AAA Public Affairs Manager, Cindy Antrican. Although travelers are thankful for the time off to spend with their loved ones, they are not so thankful for the higher gas prices.”

Strong fall consumer gasoline demand has continued into November and is chipping away at national and regional gasoline inventory. The Great Lakes and Central region has seen gasoline inventories decline for six weeks straight and register at the lowest level since mid-November 2014.

“Saving money at the pump is key this Thanksgiving holiday season,” added Antrican. “AAA encourages travelers to visit gasprices.aaa.com to determine how much they will pay for gas not only in their departure city, but their destination city as well.

Cheap Flights = More Air Travelers
While road travelers will experience a slight pinch in their wallets, air travelers have a lot to be thankful for as reduced fares are encouraging more to fly to their Thanksgiving destinations. The largest growth in holiday travel is by air travel, at five percent, with 3.95 million travelers, nationally. Nearly 165,000 Ohioans will take to the friendly skies, representing a 6.1% increase over last year.

“Consumers are paying the cheapest average airfare since 2013,” continues Antrican. “However, they should expect to spend any ‘flight savings’ on car rentals which are averaging 34 percent more than last year due to increase demand and the cost of new vehicles added in fleets.”

Lockouts, flat tires to strand 330,000 motorists this Thanksgiving
AAA expects to rescue more than 330,000 motorists this Thanksgiving weekend, with the primary reasons being lockouts, flat tires and battery-related issues.

AAA Tips for Road Travelers:
• Get A Preventative Maintenance Check: Go to a AAA Approved Auto Repair facility or a trusted mechanic and have your vehicle battery, tires and fluids checked prior to hitting the road. AAA offers free preventative maintenance checks at all AAA Tire & Auto- Appointments are not required and you do not have to be a member.
• Map Your Route: Travel projections in high traffic areas can mean more time on the road and possibly delays in planned arrival time. Download AAA’s mobile app or visit your local store for TripTiks to determine the best and safest route drive.
• Fill Up: Temperatures may be colder in destination cities. Keep your gas tank at least half full to allow for additional idling time in case you encounter lengthy delays caused by highway traffic congestion or crashes. Use AAA’s mobile app to find the cheapest gas prices in your departure and destination cities.
• Have an Emergency Kit: Pack an emergency kit containing a snow shovel, flashlight, ice scraper, jumper cables, warning devices, fully charged cell phone, non-perishable snacks, bottled water and extra warm clothing for everyone riding in the vehicle.
• Safety First: Every passenger in the vehicle should be wearing a seatbelt or properly restrained in a car or booster seat, including pets. Never drive if you are feeling drowsy and be alert for impaired drivers.
• Secure the Turkey: Keeping a food container loose in a vehicle is dangerous and can cause additional injury in the event of a crash. Make sure all casserole dishes come with a cover and place it in a cooler or towel-lined laundry basket. Then secure the laundry basket in the truck or cargo area with bungee cords.

AAA Tips for Air Travelers:
• Weather Alerts: Monitor weather conditions regularly, at your departure city, cities where connections occur and destination city.
• Flight Status Check: 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.
• Review TSA Procedures: Visit www.tsa.gov to review new screening procedures. TSA now requires all electronics larger than a cell phone to be removed from carry-on bags and placed in a separate bin.
• Pack Extra Clothes in Carry On Bag: When flying, pack essentials and any medication in your carry-on bag in case travel schedules change.
• Protect Your Investment: Consider purchasing travel insurance before a trip to protect you in the event of severe inclement weather.