AAA Says 34 Million Fewer Americans Will Travel This Holiday Season
The coronavirus pandemic is still affecting travel in the country and around the world. The holiday season, and especially Thanksgiving and Christmas are some of the busiest travel days of the year. But that is expected to change this year. AAA Travel predicts that the the vast majority of Americans to stay home this holiday season.
Public health concerns and travel guidance are influencing their decisions not to travel over the year-end holidays. The CDC has advised against traveling and AAA says that at least some American are listening. Travel is expected to decline at least 29% compared to the same period last year. That’s 34 million fewer travelers. But still, as many as 84.5 million Americans may still travel from Dec. 23 through Jan. 3.
“While Thanksgiving is traditionally spent gathering with friends and family, the year-end holidays are when Americans often venture out for longer, more elaborate vacations. That will not be the case this year,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel. “Public health concerns, official guidance not to travel, and an overall decline in consumer sentiment have encouraged the vast majority of Americans to stay home for the holidays.”
AAA expects that most Americans who decide to travel will do so by car, with road trips accounting for 96% of holiday travel. Up to 81 million Americans will travel by car, a decline of at least 25% compared to last year. Auto travel is expected to replace some trips previously taken by bus, train or airplane. Besides the safety that your own car provides compared to a full buss or plane, gas prices are always helping make the decision easier. Gas remains nearly 50 cents cheaper than this time last year. Recent monthly gas prices are 19% below 2019 averages.
Around 2.9 million travelers are expected to book flights for the holidays, a decline of nearly 60% from 2019. Those who do decide to fly, should expect to pay lower airfares this holiday season. Airlines are doing their part to help prevent the spread of the virus, but you should also take precautions. Get tested before and after traveling, and quarantine if necessary, as required by local government. Also wear masks, and wipe down seats, armrests, belt buckles and tray tables using disinfecting wipes, as an extra precaution when flying.