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Despite high gas prices, most people are driving Fourth of July weekend to avoid flight delays

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Mark Heyne
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Millions of people are rushing to get out of town this weekend for a relaxing Fourth of July getaway. But getting there may not be so relaxing.

AAA Cincinnati Spokesperson Jamie Johnson says pack your patience.

“For auto travel we’re anticipating just a little bit more than 2019," Johnson said. "With people cooped up for so long, they’re really ready to go.”

He cautions most people will be driving — more than 2 million of the estimated 2.2 million Ohioans heading out.

With gas prices still hovering around $5 a gallon, expect an expensive trip.

“With airline cancellations, schedule changes, short staffing in the airlines, driving is a safe bet,” Johnson said. “You control a lot more even with the gas prices being higher.”

It’s not just gas that’s costing you more

The travel app Hopper says this Fourth of July trip may be your most expensive in five years. Airfare is up; hotels are 20% more expensive than a year ago; and car rentals are about $40 more a day, according to CBS News.

Hopper says frustrations don’t end there.

“With over 3,000 flights canceled and 25,000 more delayed over Memorial Day weekend, Americans are gearing up for potential delays and cancellations over the upcoming Fourth of July weekend," a statement says. "Hopper customers who booked 4th of July travel were 11% more likely to include a Flight Disruption product like Missed Connection and Delay Plans when they booked.”

Best and worst times to travel

Leaving Saturday instead of Thursday can save about $70 a ticket, according to Hopper. The busiest day at CVG will be Friday between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. The airport suggests arriving two hours before your flight.

If you're driving, experts suggest leaving Wednesday.

But travel troubles aside, this weekend will be a needed break for some.

“People are ready to go and people are ready to get out there on the roads to see some of those family and friends they haven’t seen since maybe before the pandemic,” Johnson said.

With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.