Nashville, TN – Tennesseans are cautiously developing plans for the holiday travel season. 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.
According to a recent AAA Consumer Pulse™ survey, the majority (74%) are concerned about traveling this holiday season, due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.
However, confidence is improving. Nearly half (47%) of Tennesseans say they are more comfortable traveling now, compared to earlier this year when the pandemic began.
Read the full survey here.
One-in-four Tennesseans (25%) plan to travel this holiday season.
Although that’s less than half as many as last year, nearly one in seven (13%) have yet to decide if they will take a trip.
“While many will prefer to stay home this holiday season, some Tennesseans are more willing to travel than they were earlier this year,” said Megan Cooper, spokeswoman, 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,” Cooper stated.
Preferred Modes of Transportation
The majority of Tennesseans (75%) 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.
Three-in-five Tennesseans (60%) 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 Tennesseans Typically Book Holiday Travel?
- 26% – Before September
- 14% – September
- 18% – October
- 11% – November
- 8% – December
“This year, travelers are juggling more decisions than usual in making holiday plans,” Cooper said. “AAA Travel Advisors are ready to help travelers sort through their options and make informed choices.”
Hotel or 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, nearly twice as many 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.
Nearly half of Tennesseans (49%), with access to virtual work or school, say they are more likely to travel this fall due to the flexibility of these virtual options. Over half of these respondents (56%) say they work from home more often, due to the pandemic. Almost a quarter (24%) have someone in the household who has attended virtual school.
AAA Travels 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 TripTik.AAA.com to plan your road trip and help determine which rest stops, gas stations, restaurants and hotels are open along your route. Also check out AAA.com/RoadTrips 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 AAA.com/AutoRepair.
- 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 AAA.com/Travel 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 AAA.com/Hertz for more details.
About the AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey
The AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey was conducted online among residents living in Tennessee from October 1st-15th, 2020. A total of 401 residents completed the survey. Survey results asked of all respondents have a maximum margin of error of ± 4.9% points. Responses are weighted by age and gender to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the adult population (18+) in Tennessee.
About AAA – The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America with more than 14 million members across 14 U.S. states, the province of Quebec and two U.S. territories. ACG and its affiliates provide members with roadside assistance, insurance products, banking and financial services, travel offerings and more.
ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 60 million members in the United States and Canada. AAA’s mission is to protect and advance freedom of mobility and improve traffic safety.