5 things you should know before traveling this holiday weekend

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
More Americans will travel this Fourth of July than ever before

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A record-breaking number of travelers will hit the road in Ohio and across the U.S. for the July Forth weekend, crowding highways and airports.

More than 44 million Americans and nearly two million Ohio residents will travel for the holiday weekend, according to an analysis by AAA. That’s the highest July Forth travel volume on records, and represents a nearly 3 percent increase — more than 1.25 million people compared to 2016.

Here’s what you need to know before heading out for your trip:

1. OHIO HIGHWAYS WILL BE CROWDED. The holiday travel period is defined as Friday to Tuesday. This year, approximately 1.9 million Ohio residents plan to celebrate the holiday over the long holiday weekend. More than 1.6 million plan to drive to their destination, an increase of more than 3 percent compared to last year.

2. EXPECT CONSTRUCTION ZONES 

The Ohio Department of Transportation will invest $2.3 billion into the state’s bridges and roads, slightly less than the record $2.4 billion spent in 2014 and 2015. Approximately 1,098 projects will be conducted, including 26 major projects.

“We work with our contractors to reduce the size of work zones as much as possible during high-travel holidays,” said Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jerry Wray. “When you are driving in a work zone, it is important to pay extra attention to signs and speed limits.”

3. WHERE IS EVERYONE GOING? The top travel destinations here locally? A survey from AAA found most people are heading to these top destinations: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Gettysburg, Penn.; Ft. Walton Beach/Destin, Fla.; Hershey, Penn.; and in and around Ohio.

4. AIRPORTS WILL BE BUSY TOO. This weekend is also one of the busiest times for flight travel as well, according to RewardExpert's 2017 Independence Day Air Travel Forecast. Local aviation expert Jay Ratliff told this newspaper that travelers should check with their air carrier to rule out delays before heading to the airport this weekend.

5. SO, WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO FLY? RewardExpert's forecast found that the Friday and Saturday before the holiday tend to have the most delays and cancellations, while data show flights have fewer delays, cancellations or disruptions on July 4. If travelers have flexibility with their trips, they should plan accordingly.