MORAINE, Ohio (WDTN) – Just two days until Thanksgiving, and already the holiday travel rush is underway.
AAA expects Wednesday to be the busiest travel day for the Thanksgiving holiday, especially on the roadways. AAA predicts the number of travelers will be near pre-pandemic levels this year.
“We’re very excited that travel’s back in fashion and people are ready to get back together with family and friends,” AAA Public Affairs Manager Kara Hitchens said.
Traveling by car
AAA said nearly 49 million people across the U.S. will drive to and from their Thanksgiving destinations between Wednesday and Sunday. In the Miami Valley, AAA expects more than 144,000 people to hit the road.
Hitchens said before you go, check your car’s tires, battery, fluids and lights. When it’s time to go, try to avoid peak travel times.
“We’re going to tell you the best time to travel is early, early, early in the morning or in the evening,” Hitchens said.
Along your route, you’ll likely to see more Ohio State Highway Patrol Troopers.
“We will be out, we will have a stronger presence, you will see this out there,” Sgt. Tyler Ross with the OSHP Public Affairs Unit. “We will have a stronger visibility is going to be out there to ensure that you can get to and from your destination safely.”
Ross said last year, there were 14 fatal crashes with 17 fatalities on Ohio’s highways during the Thanksgiving travel period.
Ross wants drivers to remember preparation, planning and patience when traveling.
“Inevitably you might run into a high traffic, you might run into roadblocks, you might run into work zone or a crash,” Ross said. “Just be patient. Understand everybody’s probably got the same goal in mind. They’re trying to get to their family and friends and holidays.”
Traveling by plane
Dayton International Airport also expects to see more people for the holiday. A representative with the airport said they’re anticipating 85% to 90% of seats will be full the next few days.
If you are traveling by air, it’s recommended you arrive to the airport early and download your airline’s app to be updated on any changes.
What you’ll pay at the gas pump
This week, people are thankful gas prices are down 20 cents from last month, but the price you’re paying at the pump today is still up from last year.
With a national average of $3.63 per gallon, gas prices are impacting some people’s Thanksgiving travel plans.
“To see a daughter in Wilmington, North Carolina, you know, long trip, a lot of gas,” traveler Russ Morgan said. “She understands we’re staying home for that and they’re staying home at their place for Thanksgiving.”
Hitchens said AAA has seen a lot of people considering gas prices when making their travel plans.
“Whether they’re cutting back in terms of how far they travel, maybe cutting back on eating out, or maybe even their accommodations,” Hitchens said.
GasBuddy predicts the average national price of gasoline will be $3.68 per gallon on Thanksgiving Day, which is up nearly 30 cents from 2021, and a new record high for the holiday.