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Roads, airport expected to be busy this July Fourth week

Two people stand in front of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport security checkpoint line.
Isabel Nissley
Two people stand in front of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport security checkpoint line during the week before July Fourth, 2024.

A record number of Ohioans will travel this Fourth of July week, according to AAA projections. More than 3 million people are expected to take trips.

“For a couple of years as we came out of the pandemic, we kept saying, we’re near pre-pandemic levels,” said Kara Hitchens, AAA public affairs manager. “We're now surpassing those numbers.”

A majority of those travelers will drive.

“We have found typically, and it's been the trend for a while, that more people tend to drive to their locations, even though airline prices have come down a bit,” Hitchens said.

Wednesday, July 3, is expected to be the busiest travel day on the roads. Hitchens recommends traveling in the early morning and early evening to avoid heavy traffic. On July 4, the roads will be less congested because most people will have reached their destination by then.

Hitchens also suggests travelers who are driving have their cars looked at before heading out, for safety and convenience.

“There's nothing worse than being stuck at the side of the road when you're trying to get away for a holiday or just time with family and friends,” Hitchens said. “Getting your car checked out, getting your tires checked, checking your battery, making sure that you have the proper, and enough, fluids in the car to travel, those are very important.”

CVG is expecting an influx of airport travelers for the July Fourth holiday too. Spokesperson Mindy Kershner estimates 355,000 passengers will travel through the airport over the next week.

“Our capacity is up, travel demand is up, airfares are lower than last year, so all of that is kind of coming to fruition on why this whole summer period is going to be so busy,” Kershner said.

With more people traveling through the airport, security wait times and parking availability may be impacted. Kershner recommends people arrive two hours before their flights' scheduled departures.

"If you look on your boarding pass, you can see what time the airline is boarding, and then back it up two hours from there just to make sure that you're not risking anything,” Kershner said. “You don't want to risk missing your flight.”

The Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays before and after Independence Day are expected to be the busiest days at the airport. Many passengers will board flights around 6 a.m.

Ohio travelers will reach destinations across the country this week. Hitchens said Florida continues to be a popular vacation spot.

“You look at Orlando and Universal, those attractions down there will be very crowded,” Hitchens said. “The East Coast beaches are going to be pretty packed as well.”

Kershner said New York City is a top destination too.

Isabel joined WVXU in 2024 to cover the environment.