AAA survey: Some plan for 2020 vacations, but uncertainty is high

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Family road trip
AAA said use of its TripTik road-trip planning tool has doubled in recent months when compared with the spring and early summer. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

A survey from AAA Travel found that while some Americans do plan to travel through the end of the year, most will take a road trip, and many are uncertain as to whether they will actually be able to execute on their plans.

Of the 1,041 U.S. adults AAA surveyed, 29% said they are planning a leisure vacation this year that consists of an overnight stay away from their home. The majority, 63%, said they were not planning a vacation. Another 8% said they didn't know.

Of those planning to take a trip, AAA said 67% reported some degree of uncertainty that they would actually be able to take their vacation.

That uncertainty is leading to a shorter booking window. AAA said one in five respondents who planned to take a vacation this year expect to book it within one week of travel.

Most trips, 80%, will be road trips. Twenty-three percent said they would fly to a domestic destination, and 8% said they would fly to an international destination. Thirty-six percent said they would stay at a family member's house (multiple responses were permitted for the type of travel vacationers planned). A smattering of respondents said they would take a packaged or escorted tour, travel by train, or cruise on a river or ocean.

Signaling the popularity of road-tripping in the current climate, AAA said use of its TripTik road-trip planning tool has doubled in recent months when compared with the spring and early summer.

Those road-trippers will benefit from cheaper gas prices. Nationally, gas is nearly 50 cents cheaper per gallon than this time last year, the least expensive it's been in the fall since 2016.

Looking at AAA search data from June 15 to Sept. 14, the top destinations Americans have shown interest in, in order, are Denver; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; San Diego; Seattle; Keystone, S.D.; Portland, Ore.; Phoenix; Colorado Springs, Colo., and Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Trips that enable people to take advantage of the outdoors "are particularly appealing this fall," Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel, said in a statement. "From hiking and exploring state and national parks to visiting beaches and outdoor gardens, all of these top road trip destinations feature activities that allow families to enjoy America's backyard within their individual comfort levels."

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