AAA Says Americans Are Cautiously Optimistic About Travel

According to a recent AAA Travel survey, American travelers are making vacation plans through the end of the year and are only cautiously optimistic about those future plans. In fact, two-thirds (67 percent) of U.S. adults planning a vacation before the end of the year report some degree of uncertainty that they will actually be able to take their vacation. As a result, some are opting for spur-of-the-moment travel decisions as they take coronavirus implications into account. One in five who are planning a trip before the end of this year expect to book within one week of traveling.

The vast majority of trips this fall (80 percent) will be road trips, the survey found. In a sign of the rising popularity of auto travel this fall, use of AAA’s popular TripTik road trip planning tool has doubled compared to the spring and early summer. Not surprisingly, when they pack up their cars, more Americans are heading to destinations known for outdoor recreation and socially distanced fun than in previous years. 

AAA notes that lower prices at the gas pump may also be motivating some would-be travelers to hit the road this fall. On average, gas prices nationally are nearly 50 cents cheaper than this time last year and are the cheapest fall prices since 2016.

Top Road Trip Destinations

This fall, vacationers are showing a preference for the great American road trip and U.S. destinations that allow for socially distanced, outdoor recreation. New additions to the list of top road trip destinations this year include Keystone, SD—home to Mount Rushmore—and Colorado Springs.  The top 10 (based on searches from June 15 to September 14, 2020) are:

  1. Denver, CO
  2. Las Vegas, NV
  3. Los Angeles, CA
  4. San Diego, CA
  5. Seattle, WA
  6. Keystone, SD
  7. Portland, OR
  8. Phoenix, AZ
  9. Colorado Springs, CO
  10. Myrtle Beach, SC

For the survey, a total of 1,041 interviews were completed among U.S. adults, 18 years of age or older.

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