AAA: Pandemic remains a concern as holiday travel season approaches

A new AAA survey determined that the pandemic and presidential election are key influencers in how comfortable people feel about traveling in the coming months. This, as the holiday travel season is fast approaching. 

According to a recent AAA Consumer Pulse survey, the vast majority of Wisconsin travelers (81%) are concerned about traveling this holiday season, due to the pandemic. However, confidence is improving. Two in five (40%) Wisconsinites say they are more comfortable traveling now compared to earlier this year when the pandemic began. Read the full survey here.

According to a press release from AAA, nearly one in five Wisconsinites (18%) plan to travel this holiday season. Although that’s almost half as many as last year, over one in ten (12%) have yet to decide if they will take a trip. 

“While many will prefer to stay home this holiday season, some Illinoisans are more willing to travel than they were earlier this year,” said Nick Jarmusz, Director of Public Affairs for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Whether that confidence is based on more education about COVID-19 or simply a need to get out, AAA urges all travelers to follow the safety advice of the CDC and work with a trusted travel advisor.”  

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AAA released the following details on a press release:

Preferred Modes of Transportation


The majority of Wisconsinites (78%) say they are most comfortable traveling in their personal vehicle. This mode of transportation provides more personal control over cleanliness and social distancing. Auto travel tends to be more affordable due to lower gas prices, and allows drivers to be more flexible with the timing of their trip.

Air Travel

More than half of Wisconsinites (61%) are still uncomfortable taking a commercial flight. However, the risk of contracting the virus on an airplane is minimal, according to a new study from the Department of Defense. The study determined that face coverings and airplanes’ air filtration systems dramatically reduce the amount of hazardous particles in the air.  Airlines are taking steps to help travelers understand safety protocols, which include keeping the middle seat open on some airlines, including Delta. Travelers can consult with a AAA Travel Advisor to talk through available options and what to expect during their trip.

When do Wisconsinites Typically Book Holiday Travel?

15% - Before September

17% - September

16% - October

18% - November

13% - December

“This year, travelers are juggling more decisions than usual in making holiday plans,” Jarmusz said. “AAA Travel Advisors are ready to help travelers sort through their options and make informed choices.”

Hotel of Air BNB

Travelers have mixed feelings about hotels, resorts and Air BnBs, due to the pandemic. Fewer than half of travelers say they feel comfortable staying in a hotel or resort. Yet if given the choice 40 percent more people would prefer a hotel/resort over an Air BnB or rental home. AAA’s Diamond Ratings and Best of Housekeeping Awards can help travelers choose hotels that best meet their needs.

Virtual Work and School Encourage Travel

As many Americans continue to work from home and attend school virtually, this temporary lifestyle change opens up new and exciting possibilities for fall travel – particularly for those who deferred summer travel plans.

Two in five (40%) Wisconsinites, with access to virtual work or school, say they are more likely to travel this fall due to the flexibility of these virtual options. The majority of these respondents (73%) say they work from home more often, due to the pandemic. Just over a quarter, (26%) have someone in the household who has attended virtual school.

Presidential Election 

Pandemic aside, 11% of Wisconsinites say they have postponed travel plans due to the presidential election.

The primary reasons:

·         Safety concerns (43%)

·         Impacts on the economy (32%)

·         Watch election results (17%)

·         Political unrest (16%)

AAA Travel Tips and Resources 

Travelers can review a full list of travel tips here.

  • Review travel restrictions. 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.
  • Plan your road trip. Use to plan your road trip and help determine which rest stops, gas stations, restaurants and hotels are open along your route. Also check out for more road trip inspiration.
  • Prepare your vehicle. Take your car into a AAA Approved Auto Repair shop to ensure it is road trip ready. To find one near you, visit
  • Consult a travel agent. They are a great resource and act as your advocate if your plans change unexpectedly. AAA Travel Advisors are ready to help Americans when they are ready to plan their next adventure. Visit to get started.
  • Hotels - 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. AAA’s Best of Housekeeping highlights AAA Diamond designated hotels that are recognized for implementing the highest cleaning standards.
  • Car Rentals - 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. For extra peace mind, use disinfecting wipes to wipe down door handles, steering wheels, shifters and control panels. Hertz is also offering deals for road trippers this fall. Book four or more days at any Hertz neighborhood location and get one day free. Visit for more details.


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