Gasoline prices are up nearly $1 in the area from this time last year, but many local residents say that won't keep them from being among the 87.7 million Americans AAA predicts will travel during the upcoming holidays.
In their forecast released Wednesday, the company predicts those 87.7 million Americans, up 3.8 percent from last year, will travel more than 50 miles away from home between Dec. 23 and Jan. 3, despite gas prices being up and the economy still being weak.
It's the largest projected increase for any major holiday this year, but something that comes as no surprise to some.
"I think for most people it's family that determines whether they travel and not gas prices or anything else," said Saundra McIntire, of Devola. "Christmas is the one time of year you really need to be with family so I think most people will find a way to be there."
McIntire will be traveling to Michigan to spend the day with her parents, siblings and adult son.
"I worry about the weather," she said. "I don't like to drive in the snow. But unless it's a blizzard, I'll go."
Americans Expected to travel: 87.7 million
In 2008: 84.5 million
Nearly 78 million of those traveling are excepted to do so by automobile with only 4.2 million people nationwide expected to fly.
Michael Laughery, 42, of Marietta, said that's something he always tries to avoid.
While he and wife Cheryl alternate celebrating the holiday locally with his family or in Virginia with hers, they always pack up the car when they need to travel, he said.
"I can't think of anything more miserable than being stuck in a crowded airport around Christmas with a bunch of luggage and presents," he said. "That would take me right out of the holiday spirit. I guess if my family was in California I would have to do it, but I would really struggle with that."
Laughery said it makes for a more economical holiday for his family when they stay in town but that gas prices have never determined whether they'll stay or go.
AAA officials said the increase in price for this holiday season doesn't seem to be a factor for two reasons: Gas remains under $3 a gallon and prices have been fairly steady since mid-October, in the $2.60 and $2.70 range.
Nationwide, gas prices are about 50 cents higher than this time last year. According to a report issued by AAA East Central Tuesday, the average price in South Central Ohio is $2.61 while in 2008 it was $1.71.
Those not hitting the road say it's one expense they're glad they can cross off their list.
"Christmas is so expensive anyway," said Sandy Burke, 52, of Marietta.
"The gifts, the food... I'm very fortunate that I don't have to travel."