This summer, AAA forecasts Americans will take 700 million trips based on economic indicators and state re-openings. That number is down nearly 15% compared to last July through September and is the first decline in summer travel since 2009. AAA booking trends show Americans are making travel plans, though cautiously and more spur of the moment.
“Americans will get out and explore this summer though they’re taking a ‘wait and see approach’ when it comes to booking and are likely to book more long weekend getaways than extended vacations,” said Megan Cooper, spokesperson, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “When they do venture out, travelers will take to the road with 683 million car trips to satisfy their wanderlust.”
Car trips reign supreme accounting for 97% of the favored mode of transportation. Car trips will also see the smallest decrease in travel volume of just 3% year-over-year. Air travel will be off by about 74%, while rail, cruise ship and bus travel will slide by 86%. Were it not for the pandemic, AAA would be projecting 857 million trips during the third quarter, a 3.6% increase over last year. By this analysis, the pandemic wiped out nearly 150 million person-trips this summer.
AAA travel experts have begun to see positive trends in travel, noting that hotel and rental car bookings have been gradually increasing since April. Air travel has been slower to rebound. The share of travelers making plans 48 hours to 7 days before departure – a sign that people are arranging last-minute trips – is significantly higher than normal.
Tennessee Summer Travel Outlook
New research from AAA shows the coronavirus has impacted 2020 travel plans for 72 percent of Tennesseans, according to the AAA Consumer Pulse™ travel survey conducted in late May.
Last year, 61 percent of Tennesseans took a summer vacation, which did not include the Memorial and Labor Day holidays. During the same period this year, nearly half as many (33%) Tennesseans have summer travel plans.
While about 39 percent of Tennessee travelers had to reschedule at least one trip this year, 31 percent say they cancelled a trip with no plans to reschedule.
What needs to happen for Tennesseans to feel comfortable traveling?
• When a vaccine is available for COVID-19 (41%)
• Once COVID-19 virus cases start to decrease (37%)
• When the CDC or World Health Organizatioon say it’s safe to travel (31%)
• When stay-at-home orders are lifted (23%)
• When the U.S. lifts travel advisories for area(s) I want to travel (23%)
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