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Holiday travel expected to be back to normal

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 8:30 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Millions will be making their way to settle in with loved ones for Thanksgiving, if they’re not already on the road.

After a drop in travel for Thanksgiving in 2020, this year AAA is expecting 2.2 million Ohioans to travel for the holiday, a 13% increase from last year.

“The majority of travelers, we figure close to 2 million of them, are gonna be traveling on the roadways,” said Cindy Russeau, Retail Officer Manager for AAA. “The other portion of them may be flying to their destination on Thanksgiving.”

With gas prices up an average of $1.29 per gallon nationally from this time last year, some travelers are scaling back.

Shannon, a holiday traveler heading from Cincinnati to Midland, Michigan for a family gathering said, “We don’t really travel as much as we used to.”

However, James, another holiday traveler on that same route, said that the gas prices have affected him a little bit but, “You just have to deal with it.”

While the traffic report from those on the move today was positive, there is concern for the return trip this weekend.

“They’ve been clear so far coming up, I’m just dreading going back,” said Shannon. Debbie, another holiday traveler told us, “It’s always horrible on Sundays, but I’m hoping people are taking a longer time away like I am, so we’ll see.”

Travelers typically come back during the afternoon and evening hours on over the weekend, so experts suggest leaving earlier in the morning to avoid the traffic. While overall travel numbers are still expected to be lower than in 2019, plenty of people are just looking forward to a more traditional holiday season.

“A lot of people, the Thanksgiving travelers, are seeing COVID in the rear-view mirror,” said Russeau with AAA. “They want to get back to those pre-pandemic gatherings with the family that they may have not seen for the past year or more.”

With more people back on the roads and at the terminals this year, AAA says that travelers should leave themselves plenty of time to get home and be prepared for potential delays, especially this weekend.

Reporting from the turnpike plaza near Genoa... Derek Witt... 13abc Action News.

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