Ohioans will set off soon for the homes of their loved ones, for the kinds of meals they remember from childhood and, in recent times, for those two other important Thanksgiving traditions -- high gas prices and road construction.
Last year around this time, gasoline was averaging $3.26 a gallon in Ohio, the highest for Thanksgiving travel since 2007. Yesterday, the average price was $3.45, according to AAA Ohio.
That has not, however, dampened the auto club's forecast about the number of Ohioans expected to travel at least 50 miles by car over this holiday week. It's up a little from last year, to more than 1.5 million. That's the highest since before the economy tanked in 2008.
The busiest travel days, as always, are Wednesday and Sunday. Leaving early from work on Wednesday to beat the rush will just put you smack in the rush, said Kimberly Schwind, spokeswoman for AAA Ohio. The better strategy might be to leave late Wednesday, after the worst is over, she said.
The best strategy of all could be just realizing that Thanksgiving travel is a grind.
"Plan for it to take longer than it usually does, and be patient," Schwind said. She knows from her own experience that driving from Columbus to Cleveland on Wednesday can be particularly slow-going.
Lane restrictions because of road construction throughout the state don't help. The Ohio Department of Transportation stops project work from early Wednesday through Sunday, which means there aren't as many restrictions as there could be.
Still, ongoing projects could hang up central Ohio travelers heading to these cities:
--Cleveland: Some I-90 ramps near Downtown are closed for the construction of a new westbound bridge.
--Toledo: There are lane restrictions on I-475 for bridge work over the Maumee River.
--Cincinnati: Lane restrictions are in place in both directions on I-71 in Warren County for a bridge replacement over the Little Miami River.
--Dayton: There are restrictions on I-75 in the city for interstate modernization.
Information about lane restrictions and other traffic problems is available at www.buckeyetraffic.org.
Fewer people will be flying -- more than 123,000 Ohioans, down 1.1 percent from last year, AAA says -- but it's still a busy holiday for air travel. Port Columbus sees flights with a total of 25,000 seats in and out of the airport every day, said spokeswoman Angie Tabor. That's a little more than last year.
Especially on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the weekend after, Tabor expects to see most of those seats full. The busiest hours are 6 to 8 a.m. and 6 to 8 p.m.
Fliers should think about giving themselves an hour or more once they get into the airport, Tabor said. Some holiday travelers aren't as experienced as regular business travelers, so getting through security can take longer.
Tabor recommends that travelers stay in contact with their airlines to make sure flights are on time and visit tsa.gov to review flying rules.
People who go by bus also should plan to arrive early at bus stations, said Timothy Stokes, a spokesman for Greyhound Lines. It's just as important to buy tickets ahead of time, he said, because fares are cheaper. And with so many more travelers, it's best not to wait until the day-of to secure a seat.
No matter how you're traveling, remember that a whole lot of other people are, too.
"Just accept the fact you are going to be in traffic," said Schwind of AAA.
Most Popular Stories
- Social Media Campaign Increases Organ Donor Registrations
- Airport Garners Social Media Award
- What Will Happen When Quantitative Easing Ends?
- MillerCoors Taps New Hispanic Ad Agency
- Immigration Reform Would Decrease U.S. Budget Deficit
- Aetna Leaving California's Individual Health Insurance Market
- Calories Count: Starbucks to Post the Numbers on Menu Boards
- Tea Party Wants to 'Audit the IRS'
- Honda Says Sorry About the Lack of Electric Fits
- Patriots' Aaron Hernandez Questioned in Slaying