AAA: 115 million Americans expected to travel over Christmas, New Year’s | Don’t Miss This


AAA projects 115.2 million travelers will travel 50 miles or more from home over the 10-day year-end holiday travel period.

This year’s total number of travelers is a little more than 2 percent increase over last year and the second highest year-end travel forecast since AAA began tracking travel in 2000.

“This year’s holiday forecast is a perfect example of the strong travel trends we’ve been seeing all year,” said Bevi Powell, senior vice president, AAA East Central.

“More Americans are investing in travel, so they can make those special memories with loved ones and experience new places.”

AAA expects nearly 104 million people will drive to their holiday destinations, an increase of 1.8 percent compared to 2022. This year’s projected number of drivers is the second highest on record since 2019, when 108 million drivers hit the road for the holidays.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol will be out in force and on the lookout for speeders and distracted driving, said OHP Sgt. Christopher Thayne, assistant post commander at Ashtabula.

“Put away the cell phones and focus on driving the vehicle,” he said.

OHP troopers also remind everyone to buckle up. Since 2018, there have been 2,847 people killed in Ohio crashes who were not wearing an available safety belt, according to the OHP.

Statistics show 72 percent of vehicle occupants aged 21 to 40 killed in motor vehicle crashes were not wearing an available safety belt.

More men (65 percent) than women (52 percent) who were unbelted were fatally injured in crashes.

“Properly buckling up, every time you get into a motor vehicle reduces the risk of sustaining serious injuries or death in a crash,” said OHP Col. Charles A. Jones, superintendent. “Wearing a safety belt remains the simplest thing you and your loved ones can do to stay safe.”

Airports are expected to be the busiest they’ve ever been over Christmas and New Year’s Day. AAA projects 7.5 million air travelers this holiday season, surpassing 2019’s record of 7.3 million passengers. Average ticket prices are lower than last year. According to AAA booking data, the average price for a roundtrip ticket to Orlando, Florida this holiday season is $613, down from $735 last year.

INRIX, a provider of transportation data and insights, says there will be several days of potentially heavy traffic over the holidays. Saturday, Dec. 23 and Thursday, Dec. 28 will be the most congested days on the road.

“Nationwide, drivers could see travel times up to 20 percent longer this holiday season. In major metros, especially in Denver, Minneapolis and Washington, D.C., drivers could experience nearly double the typical delays,” said Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Avoid peak commuting hours and use traffic apps, local Department of Transportation notifications and 511 services to minimize holiday travel traffic frustrations.”

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