AAA says this summer will see first decline in travel since 2009


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — AAA is predicting that Americans will go on 700 million trips over the summer.

Compared to July through September 2019, that number is down almost 15 percent. It’s also the first decline in summer travel since 2009.

AAA says people are still making travel plans, but cautiously, and sometimes as a last-minute decision. If it weren’t for the pandemic, AAA believes there would be 857 million trips during the third quarter of the year. That would have been an increase of 3.6 percent from last year.

“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. “When they do venture out, travelers will take to the road with 683 million car trips to satisfy their wanderlust.”

Most of these trips will be by car, as AAA says it’s the favored medium for 97 percent of travelers. The national average price of gas is expected to be near $2.25/gallon for the third quarter. Last year’s summer average was $2.66.

Car trips will see the smallest decrease in travel volume year-to-year at three percent, AAA estimates.

On the other hand, air travel will slide by 74 percent, while rail, cruise ship and bus travel will be down 86 percent.

Hotel and rental car bookings have been gradually increasing since April, but air travel has been slower to rebound.

On Thursday morning, we were joined by AAA’s Elizabeth Carey, who discussed the summer travel forecast.

Evan Anstey is a digital content producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here.

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