AAA: Fewer Americans Forecast To Travel This Thanksgiving

November 26, 2020

AAA is forecasting that fewer Americans will travel for Thanksgiving this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Health concerns and unemployment are the key factors in what is expected to be the lowest Thanksgiving travel volume in four years, and the largest yearly decline since the Great Recession.

AAA projects 50 million Americans will travel this long Thanksgiving weekend. In Florida, the expectation is 2.8 million travelers. However, these figures could be even lower as Americans monitor the public health landscape, including rising COVID-19 positive case numbers, renewed quarantine restrictions and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) travel health notices.

“AAA acknowledges that the decision to travel is a personal one,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “The CDC says staying home is the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19. For those who still decide to travel, we urge you to take every precaution possible to protect yourself and others.”

Those who decide to travel are likely to drive shorter distances and reduce the number of days they are away. This makes road trips the dominant form of travel this Thanksgiving. Travel by automobile is projected to fall 4.3%, to 47.8 million travelers and account for 95% of all holiday travel.

AAA anticipates Thanksgiving air travel volume will be nearly half of last year – at 2.4 million Americans. This would be the largest one-year decrease on record. For these travelers, AAA notes holiday airfares are the lowest in three years. If flying, AAA reminds air travelers that in-flight amenities, including food and beverage services, may not be available. Also, as a precaution, wipe down your seat, armrest, belt buckle and tray table using disinfecting wipes.

Travel by “other modes” is forecast to hit record lows. This field – which includes buses, trains and cruises – is expected to decline 76%, to 353,000 travelers. The decline comes as cruise ships remain docked and more travelers opt for car trips instead of taking buses or trains.

Wednesday was expected to be the busiest travel day of the long weekend.

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