MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Are you planning to travel this holiday season? A new AAA survey determined that the pandemic and presidential election are key influencers in how comfortable people feel about traveling in the coming months.
According to the survey, the vast majority of Floridians (84%) are concerned about traveling this holiday season, due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, confidence is improving. More than half (51%) of Floridians say they are more comfortable traveling now, compared to earlier this year when the pandemic began.
One-in-four Floridians (24%) plan to travel this holiday season. Although that's half as many as last year, more than one-sixth (17%) have yet to decide if they will take a trip.
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"While many will prefer to stay home this holiday season, there is a segment of Floridians that are more willing to travel than they were earlier this year," said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. "Whether that confidence is based on more education about COVID-19 or simply a need to get out, AAA urges all travelers to follow the safety advice of the CDC and work with a trusted travel advisor."
PREFERRED MODES OF TRANSPORTATION
The majority of Floridians (70%) say they are most comfortable traveling in their personal vehicle. This mode of transportation provides more personal control over cleanliness and social distancing. Auto travel tends to be more affordable due to lower gas prices, and allows drivers to be more flexible with the timing of their trip.
More than half of Floridians (56%) are still uncomfortable taking a commercial flight. Crowded airports and cramped cabins can make social distancing a challenge. However, the risk of contracting the virus on an airplane is minimal - according to a new study from the Department of Defense. The study determined that face coverings and airplanes' air filtration systems dramatically reduce the amount of hazardous particles in the air.
When do Floridians Book Holiday Travel?
- 29% - Before September
- 16% - September
- 21% - October
- 14% - November
- 13% - December
"Travelers should not wait until the last minute to book their holiday vacations," Jenkins said. "The majority of holiday travelers will finalize their plans by the end of October. That means fewer options and possibly higher prices for people looking for a last minute flight."
HOTEL OR AIR BNB
Travelers have mixed feelings about hotels, resorts and Air BnBs, due to the pandemic. Fewer than half of travelers say they feel comfortable staying in a hotel or resort. Yet if given the choice, twice as many people would prefer a hotel/resort over an Air BnB or rental home.
VIRTUAL WORK AND SCHOOL ENCOURAGES TRAVEL
As many Americans 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.
Half of Floridians (55%) say they are more likely to travel this fall due to the flexibility provided by virtual work or school. The majority of respondents (79%) say they work from home more often, due to the pandemic. A quarter (28%) have someone in the household who has attended virtual school.
Pandemic aside, presidential elections have caused Americans to postpone travel plans in past years. This year, a fifth (21%) of Floridians say they have postponed travel plans, due to the presidential election.
The primary reasons:
- Safety concerns (50%)
- Political unrest (28%)
- Impacts on the economy (27%)
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