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AAA Survey Finds Americans Planning Fall Travel with Cautious Optimism

Travelers advised to take proper precautions to keep safe while away from home

BELLEVUE, Wash. — According to a recent AAA Travel survey, American travelers are making vacation plans through the end of the year, but remain cautiously optimistic about those future plans. Sixty-seven percent of U.S. adults planning a vacation before the end of the year report some degree of uncertainty 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. According to AAA’s survey, one in five who are planning a trip before the end of this year expect to book within one week of traveling. AAA advises these travelers to take proper precautions to help keep themselves and others safe while away from home.

The vast majority of trips planned this fall — 80% — will be road trips. 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.

“For those who are choosing to travel, the great American road trip continues to be the preferred method of getting out and exploring the United States,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel. AAA advises these travelers to plan ahead and take precautions to be a responsible traveler.”

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

The most-frequent searches made through AAA’s TripTik travel planning tool show a preference for U.S. road trips that allow for socially distanced, outdoor recreation. New additions to this year’s list of top destinations include Keystone, South Dakota – home to Mount Rushmore – and Colorado Springs.

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

Data based on TripTik.AAA.com searches from June 15-Sept 14, 2020

“From hiking and exploring state and national parks, to visiting beaches and outdoor gardens, all of these top road trip destinations feature activities that allow families to enjoy America’s backyard within their individual comfort levels,” continued Twidale.

What to Know Before You Go

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to advise that staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

For those who make the personal decision to travel, AAA recommends checking with state and local authorities where they are, along their route, and at their planned destination to learn about local circumstances and any restrictions that may be in place. These additional tips and helpful information play an important role in being a responsible traveler:

  • Check AAA’s COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map as well as CDC’s COVID-19 data tracker for the latest state and local travel restrictions.
  • Consistent use of face masks combined with social distancing (at least 6 feet) and regular handwashing are the best ways to lower your risk of contracting COVID-19.
  • Be sure to pack face masks, disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer and a thermometer to help protect and monitor your health. Also pack water and extra snacks to reduce stops.
  • Use TripTik.AAA.com to plan your road trip and help determine which rest stops, gas stations, restaurants and hotels are open along your route. Also check out AAA.com/RoadTrips for more road trip inspiration.
  • Prior to any hotel stay, call ahead to ensure your hotel is open and ask what precautions they are taking to protect guests. Ask about social distancing protocols like capacity reductions in common spaces and hotel staff requirements to wear masks at all times.
  • Take your car into a AAA Approved Auto Repair shop to ensure it is road trip ready. To find one near you, visit AAA.com/AutoRepair.
  • If renting a car, ask what has been done to clean the vehicle. Hertz, for example, has introduced Hertz Gold Standard Clean, an enhanced vehicle disinfectant and sanitization process.
  • Consult a travel agent; they are a great resource and act as your advocate if your plans change unexpectedly. AAA travel counselors are ready to help. Visit AAA.com/Travel to get started.

AAA continues to monitor travel trends and will release a traditional Thanksgiving holiday travel forecast in November. For more information, visit www.Newsroom.AAA.com.

Survey Methodology

Survey findings are the result of a probability-based panel designed to be representative of the U.S. household population overall. The panel provides sample coverage of approximately 97% of the U.S. household population. Most surveys were completed online; consumers without Internet access were surveyed over the phone. A total of 1,041 interviews were completed among U.S. adults, 18 years of age or older. The margin of error for the study overall is 3.9% at the 95% confidence level.

About AAA Washington:

AAA Washington was established in 1904 by 10 prominent Seattleites determined to champion the betterment of motoring conditions and laws; the preservation of Washington state’s natural beauty; and the promotion of Washington as an unrivaled tourist destination. More than a century later, the club continues to pursue these on behalf of its 1.2 million members. 

AAA Washington provides a variety of exclusive benefits, including roadside assistance, discounts, maps, and personalized trip planning, to members. AAA was recently named one of the most trusted travel and automotive brands in the U.S. Additional information is available through the company’s stores in Washington and northern Idaho, at www.AAA.com, or by calling 1-800-562-2582. 

About AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety:

Established in 1947 by AAA, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a nonprofit, publicly funded, 501(c)(3) charitable research and educational organization. The AAA Foundation’s mission is to prevent traffic deaths and injuries by conducting research into their causes and by educating the public about strategies to prevent crashes and reduce injuries when they do occur. This research is used to develop educational materials for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and other road users. Visit www.AAAFoundation.org.

AAA Washington Media Contacts

Kelly Just | 425-647-1594
Jennifer Cook | 425-301-9075
Twitter: @AAA_Washington
Facebook: AAA Washington

Interested in planning your next road trip with AAA Washington? Call your travel agent directly or your nearest AAA store to get pro tips, TripTik maps, and more. Find more Pacific Northwest scenic drives and road trips.

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Media Contact

Jennifer Cook
Senior Manager, Corporate Communications
425-301-9075
JenniferCook@aaawa.com

Kelly Just
Public Affairs Manager
425-647-1594
KellyJust@aaawa.com

Location
Bellevue Corporate Office
3605 132nd Ave. SE
Bellevue, WA 98006

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