AAA: Americans to make 700 million trips this summer

While fewer people will be traveling this summer in the U.S., car trips will suffer the least compared with other modes of transportation, according to a AAA survey.

MADISON — COVID-19 may have put a damper on Americans’ plans, but they are still planning to take 700 million trips this summer, which is 14.6% less than last year, according to AAA.

Taking the biggest hit are trips by rail, cruise or other at 85.5%, while trips taken by air is anticipated to decrease by 73.9%. Automobile, by far, saw the least amount of drop at 3.3%.

2020 will mark the first decline in summer travel since 2009, 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,” 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.”

Before the pandemic struck, AAA said it was projecting that Americans would take 857 million trips during the third quarter, a 3.6% increase over last year. By this analysis, the pandemic wiped out nearly 150 million person-trips this summer.

AAA travel experts have begun to see positive trends in travel, noting that hotel and rental car bookings have been gradually increasing since April. Air travel has been slower to rebound. The share of travelers making plans 48 hours to seven days before departure — a sign that people are arranging last-minute trips — is significantly higher than normal.

When it comes to AAA TripTik destination searches, prominent cities that typically draw large crowds are not as popular. Orlando, Florida, has dropped from the top searched city destination to No. 8 while Denver makes the biggest climb from No. 10 to No. 1: (Data based on TripTik.AAA.com searches from March 15 — June 14, 2020). Las Vegas was second followed by Los Angeles in third and Seattle in the fourth spot.

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