Study: Americans holding off on long vacations

Staff report -

COLUMBUS — A new travel survey from AAA finds about two-thirds of U.S. adults planning a vacation before the end of the year report some degree of uncertainty that they will actually be able to take their vacation. As a result, some are opting for more spur-of-the-moment travel decisions as they take coronavirus implications into account. AAA advises travelers to take proper precautions to help keep themselves and others safe while away from home.

While 63 percent of those surveyed said they were not planning a trip before the end of the year, 80 percent of those that are planning to travel say they are planning a road trip. More of these travelers are heading to destinations known for outdoor recreation and socially distanced fun than in previous years.

Lower prices at the pump may be helping to motivate some would-be travelers to hit the road. On average, gas prices nationally are 50 cents cheaper than this time last year, and are the cheapest fall prices since 2016. In Ohio, gas prices are nearly 60 cents below year-ago averages, hovering just above $2 a gallon.

“For those who choose to travel, the great American road trip continues to be the preferred method of getting out and exploring the United States,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel. “AAA advises these travelers to plan ahead and take precautions to be a responsible traveler.”

What to Know Before You Go:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to advise staying home to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

For those who make the personal decision to travel, AAA recommends travelers check with state and local authorities along their route and at their planned destinations to learn about local circumstances and restrictions. AAA also recommends travelers:

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.

Be sure to pack face masks, disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer and a thermometer to help protect and monitor your health. Also pack water and extra snacks to reduce the need to stop along your trip.

Wear face masks, practice social distancing (at least 6 ft.) and wash hands regularly to lower your risk of contracting COVID-19.

Use to plan your road trip and help determine which rest stops, gas stations, restaurants and hotels are open along your route.

Make sure your car is road trip ready by ensuring it’s up-to-date on routine maintenance.

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.

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 of mind, use disinfecting wipes to wipe down door handles, steering wheels, shifters and control panels.

Consult a travel agent; they are a great resource and act as your advocate if your plans change unexpectedly.

Staff report