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 percent of people intend to take trips for the holiday this year, despite the coronavirus pandemic, a report 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.”
Still, with Thanksgiving a week away, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged Americans to skip holiday travel this year.
The recommendation released Thursday by the CDC was a break from earlier messaging in which U.S. officials have largely declined to issue firm guidance for holiday gatherings, leaving it to American families to decide for themselves whether to risk infection at large dinners with the coronavirus pandemic still raging. The survey shows the number of U.S. residents planning to go on Thanksgiving trips is down 14 percent 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 percent 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.
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.