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Gas prices not deterring Ohioans from Memorial Day weekend travel

People sit on the beach on the Atlantic Ocean at Hilton Head Island, S.C. on April 27, 2022.
Janelle Cogan
Hilton Head, S.C., is one spot AAA expects Ohioans to travel to.

Ohioans are ready to hit the road this weekend, despite high gas prices. AAA spokeswoman Kara Hitchens says the number of people expected to travel for Memorial Day will be close to what it was before the pandemic. Hitchens says nearly 1.5 million Ohioans will be going somewhere.

"It's not breaking records," she says. "There's still a great many people traveling this Memorial Day weekend. We just tell people to pack your patience; I know everyone's anxious to get back out there. You're just going to need to be patient as much as possible."

Across the country, about 39.2 million people are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home. AAA says that's 8.3% more than last year.

Hitchens says driving is still the most popular mode of transportation for the holiday. "In the past we've always found that high gas prices don't stop people from traveling. Now, they may make some adjustments in their budgets as opposed to not going at all."

She says high gas prices could mean travelers will spend less on lodging and food, and it could mean they don't travel as far away from home or stay away as long as they might like.

Hitchens says the most popular direction for Cincinnatians is south. She says according to AAA advisors, lots of people will be headed to Myrtle Beach, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and even the Florida theme parks.

Memorial Day weekend is just the beginning. "A recent survey that we did was that people plan on taking more than one trip this summer. We've kind of been in lockdown for the last couple of summers, or at least slowed down. People kind of want to make up for it."

Hitchens says that extends to overseas travel too. She says some countries have lessened their travel restrictions, and Americans feel better knowing about vaccination and testing requirements.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.