There is no doubt summer vacations will look different in the foreseeable future. Of almost any industry, travel has been one of the most devastated, as people stay home either by choice or by government mandate in order to prevent the spread of the virus.
But with that in mind, many people are still planning on taking some form of a summer vacation, the only difference being now the means in which they get there. Instead of flying, which has seen a major drop off in the past three months, the majority of people now plan on vacationing via car travel.
From the study:
“We surveyed 906 US residents on their plans regarding travel for summer 2020 and found several emerging trends, specifically taking into account how the COVID-19 pandemic has altered their plans. Of the people we surveyed, over 81% of those who plan on some form of leisure travel this summer plan on doing so by car.”
The study also found that things like cruises, train travel, bus travel and other mass transit options will likely remain as unpopular choices for vacations for quite some time.
The TSA has running data comparing year-over-year numbers of people traveling through checkpoints at airports. As you can see in the data sets, there has been a massive decrease in the last quarter, some days with only 15-20% of the number of travelers as compared to recent years.
Still, most people still plan on taking some vacation this year, with AAA reporting that travel, while down, has decreased only 15%, most of that coming from air travel, with only a 3% estimated drop in road trips and car travel.
As car travel offers the opportunity to isolate while on the move, it also provides travelers with the chance to visit more remote locations or vacation rentals where social distancing is more realistic. Most vacation travelers currently view air travel as dangerous, and will likely avoid it at least for the near future, explaining the jump in the interest in car trips.
This will likely re-shape the hotel and lodging industry as well, as more people likely look for short term rentals and other more isolated locations for vacation. Crowded hotels in major cities will likely see a continued dip for at least the foreseeable future.
The era of the “200 miles away or less” vacation seems to be upon us, and we expect to see this trend last for at least the next several years.