Coronavirus pandemic to slow summer travel: AAA
120 million fewer Americans are hitting the road this summer
The novel coronavirus will lead to the first decline in summer travel since 2009, with the pandemic wiping out hundreds of millions of trips over the next three months, according to estimates from AAA.
AAA forecast that Americans will take around 700 million trips from July to September, a nearly 15 percent decrease from the prior year.
"Were it not for the pandemic, AAA would be projecting 857 million trips during the third quarter, a 3.6% increase over last year," AAA said. "By this analysis, the pandemic wiped out nearly 150 million person-trips this summer."
AMERICANS STILL ROAD TRIPPING DESPITE CORONAVIRUS THIS SUMMER: SURVEY
Rail, cruise ship and bus travel are expected to see the greatest decline, down 86 percent compared to last year. Meanwhile, air travel, which AAA cautioned has been slower to rebound, is projected to slide nearly 74 percent. Comparatively, car trips will only see a mere 3 percent decrease.
In fact, 97 percent of summer trips this year are expected to be road trips due to social distancing recommendations, up from an average of 87 percent over the last five years, AAA said.
“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 Paula Twidale, AAA's senior vice president of travel. “When they do venture out, travelers will take to the road with 683 million car trips to satisfy their wanderlust.”
GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO BY CLICKING HERE
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it was unable to identify if any method of travel was safer than others, saying airports, bus stations, train stations and rest stops are all spots where travelers can be exposed. These travel hubs also make it hard to social distance, according to the CDC.
But, cooped up Americans are still making travel plans, "though cautiously and more spur of the moment," according to AAA.
The prime destination this year: Denver, Colorado.