AAA: Lowest Thanksgiving travel volume in 4 years expected in 2020

Ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, the American Hotel & Lodging Association found 44% of the adults they surveyed won’t stay in a hotel for vacation or leisure travel, or it will be 2021 at the earliest. The coronavirus pandemic has brought some holiday festivities to a standstill.

Results show that 72% of Americans are unlikely to travel for Thanksgiving and 69% are unlikely to travel for Christmas, compounding the challenges for the hotel industry during this public health crisis.

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The office at Bayside Travel in Fox Point is normally bustling ahead of the holidays.

Ann Valley

"Last year, we would be so busy we would be working on overtime," Ann Valley said.

But the pandemic put the brakes on travel for many. 

"Right now, travel is still pretty much at a standstill," she said.

Valley has been helping those who are seeing schedule changes. 

"We've all seen with the airlines cutting their flights, they are losing money. Cruise lines are losing money. It’s just a very difficult time for everybody," she said.

Nick Jarmusz

According to Nick Jarmusz, the director of public affairs for AAA, health concerns and unemployment are the key factors in what is expected to be the lowest Thanksgiving travel volume in four years and the largest yearly decline since the Great Recession.

"Overall, we are expecting about 15% less travelers than last year for Thanksgiving, about 50% drop in air travel and about a 10% drop in automobile," Jarmusz said. 

Still, he stressed safety for those deciding to head out for the holidays.

"We have seen a reduction in the number of folks out driving and traffic volumes during the pandemic. We have not really seen a reduction in crashes and injuries and fatalities on the road," he said.

If you do decide to travel, you're urged to take precautions to protect yourself and others. 

"Take your hand sanitizer. Take your wipes. Take your masks," Valley said.  

Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still encourages folks to stay home for the holiday as the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 so we can all get past this.

"Everyone is very hopeful they will be able to travel in 2021," she said.

Travel experts say if you are traveling, plan ahead and know the restrictions and requirements in the state and local areas where you’re headed. 

For more information from AAA, CLICK HERE.