Whether you’re planning to fly in the friendly atmosphere or sail a strip of highway for Memorial Day weekend, rest assured that you’ll join many others emerging from their COVID cocoons.
“Based on our expectations, summer travel isn’t just hotter, it’s going to be smoldering,” said Paula Tudel, Senior Vice President of AAA Travel, the travel agency of the Automobile Club of America.
The holiday marks the unofficial start of summer. AAA estimates that 39.2 million people, including nearly 1.5 million Ohioans, will travel more than 50 miles from home over the weekend, which runs from today through Monday.
For Ohioans, the number reflects an increase of about 7%, said Kimberly Schwind, executive director of public affairs for the AAA Ohio Automobile Club.
“We are looking to travel to an almost complete recovery to 2019 levels” before the pandemic, she said. “People are running late for vacation and are looking to catch up on much-needed R&R.”
How is the weather looking in Northeast Ohio?
Those who watch the sky regularly in northeastern Ohio say they don’t hesitate to break out this picnic basket, too.
“Right now, it looks good for most of the (northern Ohio) area,” said Brian Mitchell, a National Weather Service meteorologist in the Cleveland office. “We’re feeling dry with a warming trend as we go from near normal highs in the mid-70s on Saturday and then hit 80 on Sunday and maybe even into the mid-80s on Memorial Day.”
A little rain may fall before then.
The National Weather Service released a statement on the severe weather Wednesday, saying that rain and thunderstorms today could be severe: “Destructive winds are the primary threat, but significant hail and a hurricane or two are possible.”
Forecasts for the Akron-Canton region showed there is a 90% chance of rain tonight and Friday. While there is still a 30% chance of rain on Saturday, skies on Sunday and Monday were expected to be sunny.
Airports will be busy.
The AAA Ohio Automobile Club expects a 20% increase in air travel.
“As we continue to move forward from the pandemic glare with respect to air travel, we continue to see reversals in the number of people traveling by air,” Schwind said.
“People have to keep in mind that the airports will be busy,” she added. “We have a lot of demand, but capacity hasn’t reached that level. There will be fewer non-stop flights and more connecting flights, less availability, and flights will be full… We are seeing a ripple effect across the country. So check your flight status before you leave. the home “.
AAA recommends arriving at the airport two hours before flights to domestic locations and three hours before international flights.
Akron Canton Airport says it’s ready for passengers
TSA agents are waiting, “and we’re ready to welcome everyone here,” said Lisa Dalpiaz, vice president of marketing and air services development at Akron-Canton Airport.
She added that the airport expects an increase in the number of passengers, but has more flights this year.
“We have 19 non-stop destinations and even more leisure destinations than before,” Dalbiaz said, noting that Allegiant Airlines has four destinations in Florida and Georgia, and that Breeze Airways has started a new route to Nashville.
She added that masks are no longer mandatory on flights, “but if people feel comfortable wearing them, they are very much welcome.”
Hitting the Highway: Best/Worst Times to Travel on Memorial Day Weekend
Motorists wanting to avoid busy highways will want to plan ahead.
“Travel times on the busiest highways are expected to be on the afternoon of Thursday, May 26 and Friday, May 27,” Schwind said.
The agency lists the best and worst times to travel, based on information from INRIX, an analytics company that provides location-based data and analytics:
- Thursday: Worst time, 1-8pm, best time, before 6am or after 9pm
- Friday: Worst time, from noon to 7 pm, best time, before 7 am or after 9 pm
- Saturday: Worst time, 1-6pm Best time, before 10am
- Sunday: Worst time, 1-4pm best time, before 10am
- Memorial Day: Worst time, 1-4pm Best time, before 11am
Where does everyone go for Memorial Day?
“Certainly with higher gas prices, a lot of people are choosing shorter road trips and there is a lot to do in Ohio,” Schwind said.
Many Ohioans choose destinations within a six-hour drive, although there are people who hit the beaches of the East Coast and go to Florida.
“We’ve also seen Tennessee become very popular with road trips. Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, the Great Smoky Mountains, Nashville too,” she said.
How do gas prices affect travel?
A gallon of regular gas averaged $4,599 on Wednesday — a record high. It was $4.50 in Ohio.
People still want to get out and go.
“Maybe they will stay a day less or stop shopping or choose less expensive activities,” Schwind said. “They will look for ways to offset the high travel costs of their trip. They may go with family or friends and rent a vacation home to share these costs.”
One way to deal with these costs, or at least have an idea of what they’ll be like on AAA can be found at gasprices.aaa.com. The website shows national averages that can be found by county and city.
It also has a gas cost calculator, Schwind said.
“If you’re wondering how much your Memorial Day road trip will cost with fuel, you can write down your starting point, your destination, make and model of car, and you can calculate how much you can expect to spend on each trip,” she said. .
“You can get an idea of how much you’re going to be spending as you try to budget for your trip. So at least you can get an idea of how much you’re going to be spending.”