On the road again

MIAMI VALLEY — After enduring a recession and gas prices sky rocketing over the past seven years, it has been hard for Americans to enjoy traveling during their hard-earned vacations; but as for this summer, many are remembering what it is like to afford a fulfilling vacation away from home.

According to AAA Allied Group, Inc., data shows 41.9 million Americans will travel over the Fourth of July weekend, a .7 percent increase from last year. As for Ohioans, an estimated 1.7 million are planning to travel over the holiday weekend, with 1.5 million of those travelers driving. There will be about 80,000 Ohioans who plan to fly, a 3.7 percent increase.

This summer broke the record as the highest amount recorded of Ohioans traveling since AAA has been tracking in 2001.

“What we are seeing locally is it ties back to the economy and consumer confidence. Consumers are feeling more confidence,” Cindy Antrican, AAA public affairs manager said on Friday.

With gas being roughly one dollar less this year than last year, Ohioans are finding cash in their wallets and the time to go on a get-away.

“If you want to drive, you better go now,” Antrican said, stating that the lower gas prices have been “really impactful.” With anticipation of high demand in the summer, gasoline production typically increases, which may help lower gas prices even more so.

Where are folks in the Miami Valley going this summer? They are itching to get their toes in the sand or taking the kids to see Mickey Mouse. Based on AAA hotel bookings, the number one travel destination on the list is Orlando/Walt Disney, Fla., followed by Myrtle Beach, S.C., Hilton Head, S.C., Destin/Ft. Walton Beach/Panama City Beach, Fla., and Gatlinburg, Tenn.

Before you throw your hands up and say to yourself that you are not one of those Ohioans who can afford to travel this summer, Antrican suggests you look deeper and see if that is really true.

“’We can’t afford it’ – how do you know?” Antrican said. “(Vacations are) very personal to each traveler. I encourage others to investigate.” Consider details such as time; you may not be able to afford seven days of vacation, but maybe four will work in your budget. Maybe ask extended family members to vacation with your family to save on costs.

To help with vacation plans and costs, travel apps such as AAA Mobile provide information such as gas prices at the next exit, details on hotels, or points of entertainment in an area. A fuel cost calculator can be located at FuelGaugeReport.aaa.com.