Summer vacation 2020: Last-minute road trip

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Family road trip
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

While projected summer travel is down 15% compared to last year, AAA is still forecasting that Americans will take 700 million trips this year, the vast majority by car.

According to AAA, this is the first time that summer travel (July 1 to Sept. 30) will fall since 2009. Booking trends indicate that travelers are making their plans closer to their departure date.

The number of car trips predicted is 683 million, down 3.3% from 706 million. That accounts for 97% of all summer travel in 2020, AAA said, up from an average of 87% over the last five years.

Air trips are expected to be down 73.9% to 15.1 million, AAA said. The number of Americans traveling via rail, cruise or another method is down 85.5%, to 9.3 million.

AAA has seen “gradually increasing” hotel and rental car bookings since April, but air travel has been slower to rebound.

The top ten most popular hotel destinations based on AAA Travel bookings are, in order, Las Vegas, Orlando, San Diego, New York City, Chicago, Nashville, Atlanta, Houston, Portland and San Antonio.

Travelers are arranging more last-minute trips, with the amount of travelers making plans two to seven days before departure “significantly higher than normal.”

“Americans will get out and explore this summer, though they’re taking a ‘wait and see approach’ when it comes to booking and are likely to book more long weekend getaways than extended vacations,” said Paula Twidale, AAA’s senior vice president of travel.

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