HARTFORD, CT (September 3, 2020) As the Labor Day holiday weekend approaches, travelers are taking to the roadways rather than flying or using other modes of transportation, according to AAA. But they aren’t opting for the usual tourist spots, as concerns over the coronavirus continue to shape travel plans. Lower gas prices are also helping to fuel the demand for family road trips, as Labor Day prices at the pump are the lowest in four years nationwide - and the lowest across Connecticut since 2004.
“Anyone planning an end of summer getaway will be able to do so spending less at the pump this holiday weekend than they have in years” says AAA spokesperson Amy Parmenter. “It's no surprise folks want to take advantage of the lower gas prices and take one more road trip before summer comes to a close”.
AAA reports a summer uptick in memberships and requests for road trip travel tools, such as travel guidebooks, maps and TripTiks, AAA’s customized road trip planner. While Orlando has typically been among the top destinations any month of the year, vacationers across the region are now more interested in road trips and wide open spaces where they can more safely manage coronavirus risks.
AAA reports the following destinations have been popular among members asking for travel information:
- National Parks
- Niagara falls, US side
- Rhode Island
Local Labor Day Gas Prices
Although local gas prices recently saw a slight increase as a result of Hurricane Laura’s landfall in the Gulf Coast, prices across Connecticut are the lowest for the Labor Day holiday in more than 15 years. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a drop in demand for gasoline, leaving a large domestic supply. This extra supply is helping to keep gas prices lower.
Plan ahead for a Safe Trip
In these times of a pandemic, AAA reminds travelers it’s important to take some extra precautions to reduce risks of the coronavirus. Here are some ways to stay safe when traveling:
- Hand sanitizer. Bring a large pump-style bottle of 70% alcohol-based sanitizer for the car. A pump bottle reduces handling of the bottle. You can trigger the pump with the back of your hand. Sanitize before getting out of the car and immediately after returning. Be sure everyone has a small, individualized bottle to take with them.
- Sanitizing wipes. Keeping a packet in the car can help you get into the habit of wiping down all areas of your vehicle where you have contact, such as the steering wheel, shift knob, door handles and seat belt latches. If you forget to bring wipes, pump a little sanitizer onto a napkin and apply. Bring a second packet of wipes with you to take when you leave the vehicle so you can use it when opening a restaurant door, using a gas pump, sitting down at a table or using a public restroom.
- Wear a mask. They are required in most municipalities when entering any public building or in outdoor spaces where people congregate. Keep in mind, the bandana or gaiter style of mask is not approved in all public areas, including Disney. Bring one washable mask for each day of your trip and use a new one daily. If you are traveling with kids or several people, it may be more efficient to invest in a box of disposable masks so everyone can simply grab and go.
- Pack a lunch and more. Packing food and snacks can help reduce the number of stops you make, and therefore the number of potential interactions. You’ll also reach your destination sooner. Pack lunch when you can, along with snacks. Opt for single-use packets so you're all not reaching into the same bag. Use a cooler for beverages.
- Social distance. When you do make a stop, stay 6 feet apart when standing in lines. Self-seating restaurants typically have their tables spaced, with distance and directional markers on the floor. Consider ordering ahead via a mobile app to further reduce contact.
- If you feel uncomfortable, leave. If you notice workers are not wearing masks properly (they should cover the entire mouth and nose) or there are simply too many people inside, don’t hesitate to leave.
- Use the AAA mobile app. Remember to bring the AAA mobile app along for the ride. You'll be able to make hotel reservations along the way at AAA member rates, and find local attractions, restaurants, and other venues that offer AAA discounts.
In addition to curbside pickup, TripTiks and other travel tools are also available on the AAA website and on the AAA mobile app. Virtual guidebooks are available for journeys across the country. The guidebooks come complete with itineraries to get the most out of any destination, even if you have only a few days to spend. They include in-depth destination information with links to articles, videos, travel tips and more. Those traveling with a family will find lists of kid-friendly attractions as well.
For those seeking a scenic drive, AAA offers AAA Road Trips, nearly 600 regional routes, with descriptive narratives for each leg of the journey and recommended things to see and do.
The AAA mobile app highlights AAA-diamond rated hotels and restaurants, directions, attractions and more, with information from AAA travel editors. It also lists current gas prices.
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