Sign Up for Our Daily Newsletter
AAA did not release a Memorial Day weekend travel forecast for the first time in 20 years, due to travel’s bleak outlook back in May. So, the company’s most recent summer forecast — predicting a 15% decrease compared to last July through September — is welcome news.
Analyzing economic indicators, booking trends and state reopening plans, AAA predicts that Americans will take 700 million trips this summer, though these trips will look a bit different than in previous years.
"Americans will get out and explore this summer, though they’re taking a ‘wait and see approach’ when it comes to booking and are likely to book more long weekend getaways than extended vacations,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of travel for AAA. “When they do venture out, travelers will take to the road with 683 million car trips to satisfy their wanderlust.”
With car trips amounting for 97% of summer vacations in 2020, the year-over- year decrease for car travel clocks in at just 3%, while air travel (down 74%) and rail, cruise ship and bus travel (down 86%) see much more significant decreases.
If it were not for the COVID-19 pandemic, AAA “would be projecting 857 million trips during the third quarter, a 3.6% increase over last year. By this analysis, the pandemic wiped out nearly 150 million trips this summer.”AAA has some other good news for travelers: Despite the uptick in car travel, traffic in most metropolitan destinations will be far less than usual for summer.
RELATED: How to Qualify Clients for an RV Trip
Also, AAA predicts “the national gas price to average near $2.25/gallon for the third quarter of 2020, which will be a 15% decline from the $2.66 average seen last summer,” making this summer the cheapest for filling the tank since 2016.
Based on searches through AAA TripTik, a road trip planner tool, the top road trip destinations are Denver; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Seattle; Phoenix; Portland, Ore.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Orlando, Fla.; San Diego; and Nashville, Tenn.
According to AAA, hotel bookings are down by 25%, though bookings are beginning to return to top hotel destinations such as Las Vegas; Orlando, Fla.; San Diego; New York City; and Chicago.
The DetailsAAA Travelwww.aaa.com