The Great American Road Trip is taking a front seat this summer.
Of the 700 million trips Americans plan to take this summer, 97% will be by car, says a new AAA third-quarter travel forecast. That’s 683 million road trips, says AAA Northeast.
Although the forecast reflects the first decline in summer travel since 2009, AAA anticipates most travelers will hit the road between July and September with many planning multiple trips, extended weekend getaways or drives closer to home.
“Road trips are still the most cost-effective, flexible form of travel especially for families,” said Fran Mayko, AAA Northeast spokeswoman. “You can make your own schedule, customize your stops based on comfort and interests, and best of all, you can fill your tank at the cheapest gas prices in four years.”
Between July and September, overall travel volume is expected to decline 15% compared to last summer, says AAA. Of the overall volume:
- Travel by car will be down 3%;
- Travel by air will drop 74%, and
- Travel by rail, cruise or another mode of transportation will slide 86%.
“Were it not for the pandemic, AAA would have seen a 3.6% increase in overall travel volume compared to last summer,” Mayko added.
To help folks with travel planning, AAA Northeast has launched SMARTDEPART, an online travel site that provides webinars, live broadcasts, other resources focusing on safe-travel best practices and recommendations. The site also features an interactive Covid-19 map that allows travelers to view the latest coronavirus-related restrictions by state and locality.
AAA’s Q3 projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit, a London-based business information provider. The complete AAA/IHS Markit forecast is available here.