Report: Travelers reducing summer plans because of COVID-19

Paul Kurtz
June 29, 2020 - 8:08 am

    PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The coronavirus appears to be casting a long shadow over our summer vacation plans. A new report finds people are curtailing travel over concerns about COVID-19.

    Because of the obvious impacts of the pandemic, AAA Mid-Atlantic didn’t even bother to issue travel forecasts for Memorial Day and Fourth of July. Instead it focused on what people will be doing July through September. 

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    In short, summer travel ix expected to be off by nearly 15% compared to the same time period last year. That would be the first decline since the summer of 2009, after the Great Recession hit.

    AAA’s Jana Tidwell says travelers are being very cautious and taking a wait-and-see approach to booking.

    “They’re not planning so far in advance," Tidwell said. "They’re looking at last-minute travel."

    So instead of scheduling that week-long vacation, people are more likely to settle for an overnight or long-weekend trip.

    “Having that option of a last-minute trip is oftentimes appealing and, of course, that’s how many people will work that this summer.”

    Whatever type of vacation they settle, 97% of travelers will drive to their destinations, Tidwell says.

    She says the comfort factor is huge.

    “It gives families a safer, cleaner environment. You control that environment. You clean your car out. You wash your hands. People feel more safe behind the wheel of their own vehicle," she said.

    All that driving leaves little room for competition from other modes of transportation.

    “Air travel is gonna be off by about 74% this summer — no surprise considering the circumstances," Tidwell said. 

    Rail, bus and cruise ship travel are expected to be down a combined 86%.