Over half of Americans still plan Thanksgiving travel amid COVID concerns, report says

As health officials warn of the risks of Thanksgiving travel, more than half of Americans still plan to venture away from home, according to a new survey.

The website Tripadvisor says 56% of people intend to take trips for the holiday this year, despite the coronavirus pandemic, a report released last week shows.

“The way in which consumers travel, however, will look very different from past years,” Christopher Hsi, consumer market research lead analyst for Tripadvisor, said in a news release. “This year, we can expect shorter trips with smaller groups of people for more intimate, close knit gatherings.”

The number of U.S. residents planning to go on Thanksgiving trips is down 14% compared to last year, and travelers are expected to steer clear of big cities, results show. Also, road tripping is the most popular option, with about three-fourths of people in the survey saying they plan to get to their destinations by car.

AAA also expects most travelers to take road trips, saying the mode of transportation allows families to make flexible plans.

“The wait-and-see travel trend continues to impact final travel decisions, especially for the Thanksgiving holiday,” Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel, said last week in a news release.

The travel company estimated in mid-October that 50 million people would pack their bags this Thanksgiving, a 10% drop from last year. But there could be even fewer travelers as coronavirus cases climb and officials share travel warnings and restrictions, according to AAA.

The predictions come as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says staying home offers the best protection against COVID-19. Sharing an intimate Thanksgiving dinner with people you live with is among the activities that carry the lowest risk for transmitting the disease, while gathering with people from outside your household has a higher risk, according to health officials.

For those who decide to travel, it’s best to wait at least 14 days after potential exposure to the coronavirus, the CDC says.

While on the trip, experts recommend everyone wash their hands, practice social distancing and wear a face mask at transit centers. For car rides, AAA suggests bringing food to avoid stops.

To come up with its travel predictions, AAA says it teamed up with IHS Markit to study coronavirus-related rules, travel prices, jobs and other factors.

For its survey, Tripadvisor says it collected responses from roughly 400 people between Oct. 16-20, a company spokesperson told Fox Business.


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