May 24, 2021 - AAA expects a significant rebound in travel this summer, as evidenced by the results of an exclusive survey of Ohioans that reveals 61% of respondents are considering or planning to take a trip this summer.* AAA Travel is already seeing an increase in bookings that reflects the renewed enthusiasm.
“Optimism coinciding with the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and growing consumer confidence are fueling a strong desire to travel this summer as the US takes steps toward putting the pandemic behind us,” says Cindy Antrican, AAA, Manager, Public and Government Affairs. “The AAA poll shows that Ohioans have a pent-up demand for quick get-a-ways and even longer, more extravagant trips – so called ‘Revenge Travel.’”
AAA’s poll asked Ohioans about the sentiment that best reflects their feelings about traveling this summer:
- 33% feel that their travel will be driven by their need for a “quick get-a-way”
- 18% are planning a longer or more extravagant trip – so called “Revenge Travel”
- 27% are choosing to stay at home this summer
- 22% are undecided, but say they could make a last minute decision to travel.
COVID Remains a Factor in Some Summer Travel Planning
Summer travel trends are also indicative that people are feeling more comfortable traveling as COVID rates are decreasing. Adding to that, state restrictions are lessening and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidance says that fully vaccinated people can resume activities that they did prior to the pandemic, including domestic travel at low risk to themselves, while taking proper precautions.
AAA’s poll also revealed COVID remains a factor influencing Ohioans’ summer travel plans:
- 23% say they still have COVID-related travel concerns
- 26% have a strong desire to travel due to pandemic restrictions from the last year
- 19% feel that their ability to be fully vaccinated is the driving force behind travel plans
- 32% say that uncertainty about activities and attractions at their destinations is a consideration as part of the planning process
According to the same poll, in Ohio, 65% of respondents said that when thinking about their next trip, they plan to travel with only those in their household or those in their established COVID ‘bubble.’
“COVID-related safety is still a factor for many travelers, some of whom may be venturing out for the first time in over a year,” Antrican added.
As the AAA poll shows, American views about traveling as we emerge from the COVID pandemic are complex. Knowledge of the latest COVID-related restrictions and protocols will be a critical component in all planning.
“Being informed and planning in advance can make the difference between a great vacation and a travel nightmare,” said Antrican. “AAA is encouraging travelers to check and re-check requirements at all stop off points and destinations as they can change up to the last minute.”
Travelers can refer to AAA’s free COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map and TripTik for the latest information to help plan their trip.
While travel advisors, in most cases, provide free expert travel advice and can help travelers navigate the complexities of traveling during COVID such as testing and quarantine and vaccine requirements, what destinations and attractions are open both domestically and internationally, and what to do if last-minute changes are needed, just shy of 60% percent of respondents are not aware of these valuable services.
Memorial Day – the Unofficial Start to Summer Travel
With the unofficial start to summer, the Memorial Day weekend, it’s clear that people are feeling more comfortable traveling as COVID rates are decreasing and restrictions continue to loosen.
AAA expects 1.4 million Ohioans to travel over the Memorial Day holiday this year. This represents an 86% return of those who traveled pre-pandemic, in 2019, when a record number of Ohioans traveled for the holiday weekend.
This is also an increase of nearly 57% over last year when much of the country and the world was under COVID travel restrictions, if not locked down.**
According to the AAA poll, most Ohioans who are staying home for Memorial Day say COVID is not the reason as they don’t usually travel for this holiday.
Auto: The Great American Road Trip has been the most popular type of travel during the pandemic and has historically been the number one choice for the Memorial Day Holiday and that still holds true. The majority of Ohioans, 1,359,911, are forecast to travel by vehicle this Memorial Day, an increase of 52% over 2020.
- Members and Non-members can also visit a AAA location in Northwest Ohio to pick up an E-ZPass, which will allow travelers to electronically record fares when entering and exiting turnpikes across the country. E-ZPass offers contactless convenience to ensure the safety of travelers.
Air: More than 60,000 Ohioans residents will travel by air, a 564% increase from 2020.
- Travelers are reminded that some inflight amenities may be limited or not offered and that some airlines are still limiting capacity with blocked middle seats. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is also now allowing one oversized liquid container of hand sanitizer of up to 12 ounces. Masks are required at all airports and all aircraft. International travelers, including US citizens, must have a negative test result or proof of recovery from COVID before boarding flight to US. COVID testing is not required domestically, except for travel to and from Hawaii, and from island to island in Hawaii.
Other: Travel by trains, buses, rails and cruise ships remains low at 8,126 passengers, but is a 29% increase over 2020.
Don’t Let A Roadside Breakdown Ruin Your Road Trip
A AAA membership provides safety and peace of mind as you hit the road for Memorial Day and throughout the summer.
If you’re not a member, now through the end of May, you can receive 50% off a Classic Primary Membership with 1 free Classic Associate Membership. Use the promo code PGAPR50 when you join by phone, online or at any AAA retail location.
Great American Road Trip campaign
As Americans begin their Great American Road Trips this summer, AAA is here and ready to help. We’ve compiled our favorite trip-planning resources, backed by more than 100 years of road-tested experience and expertise. AAA.com/RoadTrip is a free resource to help travelers find inspiration, explore destinations, plan the perfect route and get their vehicle road trip ready.
Regardless of how you plan to get to your destination, AAA advises travelers to consult with a knowledgeable travel advisor to help plan their trips this Memorial Day. To get started and to learn more, visit AAA.com/Travel
*The AAA survey of 619 residents in Ohio was conducted April 22-23, 2021 by Public Policy Polling. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.9%.
** AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit, a London-based business information provider. For the purposes of this forecast, the Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 27 through Monday, May 31. The five-day holiday period is consistent with previous Memorial Day holiday periods. This forecast was finalized during the week of April 12.
In cooperation with AAA, IHS Markit developed a unique methodology to forecast actual domestic travel volumes, using macroeconomic drivers such as employment, output, household net worth, asset prices including stock indices, interest rates, housing market indicators, and variables related to travel and tourism, including prices of gasoline, airline travel and hotel stays. For the 2021 Memorial Day holiday travel forecast, IHS Markit also examined changes in the IHS Markit containment index regarding COVID‑19–related restrictions and activity.
AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 61 million members nationwide and nearly two and a half million members in Ohio. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a non-stock, non-profit corporation working on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.