North Dakotans are cautiously developing plans for the holiday travel 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 a recent AAA Consumer Pulse™ survey, three in four North Dakota travelers (76%) are concerned about traveling this holiday season due to the pandemic. However, confidence is improving. More than a third (39%) of North Dakotans say they are more comfortable traveling now, compared to earlier this year when the pandemic began. Read the full survey here.
Just 15 percent of North Dakotans have plans to travel this holiday season, less than half as many as last year; however, one in five North Dakotans (19%) have yet to decide if they will take a trip.
“While many will prefer to stay home this holiday season, some are more comfortable with travel than they were earlier this year,” said Gene LaDoucer, North Dakota director of public affairs for 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 safety advice of the CDC and work with a trusted travel advisor.”
The majority of North Dakotans (83%) say they are most comfortable traveling in their personal vehicle, which 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 North Dakotans (57%) are still uncomfortable taking a commercial flight. 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. Airlines are taking steps to help travelers understand safety protocols, which include keeping the middle seat open on some airlines, including Delta. Travelers can consult with a AAA Travel Advisor to talk through available options and what to expect during their trip.
When it comes to booking holiday travel, many North Dakotans who plan to travel have yet to finalize arrangements.
18% - Before September
5% - September
25% - October
25% - November
8% - December
“This year, travelers are juggling more decisions than usual in making holiday plans,” LaDoucer said. “AAA Travel Advisors are ready to help travelers sort through their options and make informed choices.”
Pandemic aside, one in 10 (12%) North Dakotans say they have postponed travel plans due to the presidential election.
The primary reasons:
- Safety concerns (71%)
- Political unrest (46%)
- In town to vote (31%)
- Watch election results (31%)
Travelers can review a full list of travel tips here.
- Review travel restrictions. 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.
- Plan your road trip. Use TripTik.AAA.com to plan your road trip and help determine which rest stops, gas stations, restaurants and hotels are open along your route. Also check out AAA.com/RoadTrips for more road trip inspiration.
- Prepare your vehicle. Take your car into a AAA Approved Auto Repair shop to ensure it is road trip ready. To find one near you, visit AAA.com/AutoRepair.
- Consult a travel agent. They are a great resource and act as your advocate if your plans change unexpectedly. AAA Travel Advisors are ready to help Americans when they are ready to plan their next adventure. Visit AAA.com/Travel to get started.
- Hotels - 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. AAA’s Best of Housekeeping highlights AAA Diamond designated hotels that are recognized for implementing the highest cleaning standards.
- Car Rentals - 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 mind, use disinfecting wipes to wipe down door handles, steering wheels, shifters and control panels. Hertz is also offering deals for road trippers this fall. Book four or more days at any Hertz neighborhood location and get one day free. Visit AAA.com/Hertz for more details.
## ## ##
About the AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey
The AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey was conducted online among residents living in North Dakota from October 1 - 15, 2020. A total of 203 residents completed the survey. Survey results asked of all respondents have a maximum margin of error of ± 6.9% points. Responses are weighted by age and gender to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the adult population (18+) in North Dakota
About AAA - The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America with more than 14 million members across 14 U.S. states, the province of Quebec and two U.S. territories. ACG and its affiliates provide members with roadside assistance, insurance products, banking and financial services, travel offerings and more. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 61 million members in the United States and Canada. AAA’s mission is to protect and advance freedom of mobility and improve traffic safety. For more information, get the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.