Thanksgiving season in the US is usually popular time for travel among many in the country. However, amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, health and government officials are encouraging residents to stay home to protect themselves and others from getting sick, so how will this impact travel during this time?
1. Travel over Thanksgiving will decrease
When it comes to typical number of travellers on the roads and at airports, there is forecast to be much less than usual around Thanksgiving. AAA Travel has said that effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as health concerns and high unemployment, are impacting Americans’ decisions to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, and they anticipate at least a 10% drop in travel. This is the largest one-year decrease since the Great Recession in 2008.
Basing their estimates on mid-October forecast models, AAA would expect up to 50 million Americans to travel for Thanksgiving, a decrease from 55 million in 2019. However, as we get nearer to the holiday, USA residents are seeing increasing numbers of COVID-19 positive cases, renewed quarantine restrictions and several travel health notices from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC), therefore AAA expects the actual number of holiday travellers will be even lower than estimated.
Fewer Americans are traveling this #Thanksgiving amid COVID-19. AAA estimates at least a 10% drop in travel compared to last year. If you decide to travel, know before you go: https://t.co/UxzwJa24uU #travelforecast pic.twitter.com/Vg3ChUdeKv— AAA Travel (@AAA_Travel) November 12, 2020
2. Travel by car will be most popular
Road trips will be the main way to travel this Thanksgiving, as those who do decide to travel are likely to drive shorter distances and reduce the number of days they are away. Travel by automobile will account for 95% of all holiday travel, however it is still projected to fall 4.3% to 47.8 million travellers.
Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel, explained, ‘The wait-and-see travel trend continues to impact final travel decisions, especially for the Thanksgiving holiday.’ Adding that, ‘The decision to travel is a personal one. For those who are considering making a trip, the majority will go by car, which provides the flexibility to modify holiday travel plans up until the day of departure’.
3. Travel by air and other means will decrease
AAA also anticipates the Thanksgiving air travel volume to decrease to 2.4 million travellers, almost half that of previous years. This would be the largest one-year decrease on record. Travel by other modes of transport, such as buses, trains and cruises, is expected to decline by 76% to 353,000 travellers, as cruise ships remain docked and more travellers choose to travel by car instead of buses or trains.
4. Cheaper fuel prices
There is a silver lining this year for road trippers in that they will find cheaper gas prices for their trip. Gas prices nationally are on average nearly 50 US cents cheaper than this time last year, with October averages the lowest in more than 15 years.