AAA Expects First Dip in Summer Travel in a Decade
By West Kentucky Star Staff
FLORIDA - Trends show travelers are eager, but cautious to take summer vacations.

AAA forecasts that this summer 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 that as Americans return to making travel plans, they are doing so cautiously and more spur-of-the-moment.

"Americans have spent the last few months dreaming about their summer vacations,” Bevi Powell, the senior vice president of AAA East Central, said. “There have been some changes in booking trends this year. Travelers are booking long-weekend getaways and impromptu trips, with many loading their cars and heading to their favorite sunny destination or national park."

Car trips reign supreme accounting for 97% of the favored mode of transportation, and are expected to see the smallest decrease in travel volume (3% year-over-year). Air travel is expected to decrease by about 74%, while rail, cruise ship and bus travel will slide by 86%.

AAA travel experts are seeing positive trends in travel, noting that hotel and rental car bookings have been gradually increasing since April. Also, 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.

Travel restrictions have been lifted but social distancing is still recommended; 97% of summer trips this year have been road trips. That’s up from an average of 87% over the last five years. 

Prominent cities that typically draw large crowds haven't been as popular. Orlando, FL has dropped from the top searched city destination to number eight, while Denver, CO makes the biggest climb from number 10 to number one. The data is based on searches from March 15 - June 15. 

AAA Travel data shows that when top destinations, including Las Vegas, Orlando and New York City, were shut-down earlier in the year, bookings shifted to smaller destinations. As those top destinations begin to open, they are once again the top hotel destinations. 

Advance bookings in general are nearly 25% shorter than this time last year. Las Vegas, Orlando, San Diego and New York City are the top 10 most popular hotel destinations since mid-March based on AAA Travel bookings. 

No matter how a traveler gets to their final destination, AAA recommends checking the CDC’s Covid-19 data tracker, municipal and state health departments, and local news for updates on coronavirus cases.

Travelers can click the link below to see AAA’s COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map for the latest state and local travel restrictions. 

On the Net:

AAA's COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map

Published 10:30 AM, Friday Jun. 26, 2020
Updated 10:37 AM, Friday Jun. 26, 2020



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