Restless Americans map out road trips despite misgivings

Americans are flying less, and it looks like their vacation plans are still up in the air.

Nearly 7 out of 10, or 67%, who want to take a vacation by year-end aren’t sure they’ll actually be able to travel, and 1 in 5 expect to book at the last minute, within a week of departure.

That’s according to a recent survey by AAA of traveler attitudes amid pandemic-era travel restrictions. The survey found that 80% of planned vacations will be road trips.

“Road trips have been most popular as consumers can curate their own experience and take the necessary precautions, prepare for the journey, limit contact and experience the great outdoors,” said Paula Twidale, AAA’s senior vice president of travel. AAA reports that use of its online TripTik road trip planning tool has doubled from spring and early summer.

More from Invest in You:
Author shares what investors should be doing during pandemic
Coronavirus forced couple into quarantine on honeymoon cruise
How to prepare for a family member with Covid-19

As for why Americans are still booking vacations despite rising uncertainty around resurgent coronavirus infection rates and interstate traveler regulations, Twidale said “pent up demand from months of quarantine is a prime motivator for travelers to venture out.”

Travel suppliers are doing their best to attract and reassure wary travelers, too. “Many hotels, tour operators and cruise lines are offering flexible terms to entice people to make the decision to book,” she added. “Insurance adds to consumer confidence and peace of mind.”

Still, travelers are hedging their bets by often waiting until the last minute to book. “AAA is seeing trends such as bookings within 48 hours or up to seven days, where that was rare in pre-pandemic times,” Twidale noted.

Where road trippers are headed