You were quarantined for the month of April, so who can blame you for wanting to get away this summer for a well-deserved vacation?
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, you won’t be alone, especially if you’re hitting the road.
According to AAA, Americans will take a combined 700 million trips. It sounds like a lot, but that’s down 15 percent compared to last July through September, and is the first decline in summer travel since 2009.
Of that number of trips, AAA estimates that 683 million of them will be road trips. So, by their math, Air travel will be off by about 74 percent, while rail, cruise ship and bus travel will slide by 86 percent. Were it not for the pandemic, AAA would be projecting 857 million trips during the third quarter, a 3.6 percent increase over last year. By this analysis, the pandemic wiped out nearly 150 million trips this summer.
So if you’re hitting the road on a trip this summer, should you expect much traffic congestion? AAA says … not really.
INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, analyzed the top 20 metropolitan areas and all states to inform travelers of the chances they will run into traffic when they travel. According to INRIX, road trippers in Florida are probably going to encounter below normal traffic congestion.
“While the amount people drive is still low for this time of year, we know millions will be taking road trips in the months ahead. The good news is, the congestion they will encounter is nowhere near what we typically see in a summer,” says Bob Pishue, a transportation analyst at INRIX.
AAA travel experts have begun to see positive trends in travel, noting that hotel and rental car bookings have gradually increased 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.
“AAA booking trends show Americans are still making travel plans, though more cautiously and spur of the moment; often seeking long weekend getaways instead of extended vacations,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group.
AAA did put out a Florida-specific report about vacation plans. Check it out here.