As states work through their re-opening phases, a forecast by AAA predicts Americans will take 700 million trips this summer.
However, estimated trips are down 15% compared to last July through September. This marks the first decline in summer travel since 2009.
Had the coronavirus pandemic not occurred, AAA would have estimated 857 million trips Americans would take trips during the third quarter of 2020, up 3.6% from last year. By comparison, this means the pandemic canceled the plans of around 150 million Americans for summer 2020.
AAA’s booking trends show that Americans planning on traveling this summer are doing it more cautiously and more spur of the movement. AAA’s senior vice president of travel, Paula Twidale, suggests people are more likely to book “long weekend getaways than extended vacations,” this summer.
AAA’s forecast predicts travel by automobile will still be the dominant travel method this summer, at an estimated 683 million travelers, only a 3% decrease from last summer. Travel by planes, trains, buses and cruise ships will likely take a much bigger hit.
Plane travel will drop to 15.1 million travelers this summer, down 73.9% from 57.9 million travelers this time last year, AAA says. Similarly, AAA estimates the number of travelers taking trains, buses and cruise ships will decrease by 85.5% from last year, down to just 9.3 million passengers. Trains, buses and cruise ships saw 64.3 million passengers in the summer of 2019.
Those that travel by car will likely continue to see lower gas prices this summer as well. AAA expects the national average to be about $2.25 per gallon for the third quarter of 2020, down 15% from the $2.66 average from last summer.