AAA projects 1st summer travel decline in 11 years due to COVID-19
PHOENIX — The American Automobile Association is projecting that travel this summer will see a decline for the first time since 2009 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
AAA forecasts that Americans will take 700 million trips based on state re-openings and economic indicators.
That metric is down almost 15% compared to last July through September, according to AAA.
“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,” Aldo Vazquez of AAA Arizona said in a press release.
“When they do venture out, the greatest share of travelers — 683 million — will take to the road to satisfy their wanderlust.”
AAA projects that car trips will see the smallest decline in travel volume at just 3% year-over-year.
However, air travel will be down 74% in addition to bus and cruise ship travel seeing an 86% decrease.
AAA estimates 857 million trips would have taken place this summer if not for the COVID-19 outbreak, a 3.6% increase from 2019.
Travel experts at AAA have seen an uptick in travel, noting that rental car and hotel bookings have been rising gradually since April.
And while air travel has been slower to recover, last-minute trips — scheduled 48 hours to seven days prior — have seen a significant increase.
AAA projects that 97% of this summer’s travel will be road trips, an increase from the 87% average over the course of the last five years.
“Beyond routing your map in advance, it is important to book hotels and plan out gas and food stops,” Vazquez said.
“Also, keep in mind that some national parks and attractions have capacity limits, so if there is a must-do activity on your trip, you’ll want to make arrangements for these in advance.”