AAA survey finds Americans willing to travel in fall

At the same time, they remain uncertain about whether they will actually be able to go

As was seen over the summer, driving is forecast to be the most popular form of travel this fall, with 80 percent of respondents to a recent AAA Travel survey saying they are planning road trips during the next month or two.

AMERICANS ARE PLANNING to travel this fall, but they remain cautious about whether they will be able to realize those plans, according to a recent AAA Travel survey. For that reason, many are keeping their plans loose and waiting until the last minute to book reservations.

The AAA survey found 67 percent of U.S. adults planning a vacation before the end of the year report some degree of uncertainty they will actually be able to take their vacation. However, one in five expect to book within one week of traveling.

In another finding, 80 percent of travelers are planning road trips, indicating that that mode of travel remains popular as it was over the summer. And, also repeating a summer pattern, most will head toward destinations with outdoor attractions that allow for social distancing.

“As many Americas continue to work from home and attend school virtually, this temporary lifestyle change opens up new and exciting possibilities for fall travel – particularly for those who deferred summer travel plans,” said Paula Twidale, AAA Travel senior vice president. “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. AAA advises these travelers to plan ahead and take precautions to be a responsible traveler.”

That trend toward drive-to destinations could be fueled by declines in gas prices. Nationally those prices are nearly 50 cents cheaper than the same time last year and are the cheapest fall prices since 2016.

The top 10 road trip destinations, according to the survey, are as follows:

  1. Denver
  2. Las Vegas
  3. Los Angeles
  4. San Diego
  5. Seattle
  6. Keystone, South Dakota
  7. Portland, Oregon
  8. Phoenix
  9. Colorado Springs, Colorado
  10. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

“Trips that allow people to take advantage of the great outdoors are particularly appealing this fall,” Twidale said. “From hiking and exploring state and national parks, to visiting beaches and outdoor gardens, all of these top road trip destinations feature activities that allow families to enjoy America’s backyard within their individual comfort levels.”

AAA recommends travelers check with state and local authorities along their route and at their planned destination to learn about local circumstances and any restrictions that may be in place. Additional tips include being sure to pack face masks, disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer and a thermometer to help protect and monitor your health. Also, before staying at a hotel, call ahead to ensure the hotel is open and taking precautions to protect guests.

In September, Tripadvisor made similar predictions about the fall travel season.