Presidential election and virtual work are other factors in travel decisions

26 October 2020

Floridians 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 the survey, the vast majority of Floridians (84%) are concerned about traveling this holiday season, due to the 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. Read the full survey here.

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. 

“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

Automobile

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.

Air Travel

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.


PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

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%)


AAA TRAVEL TIPS AND RESOURCES

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 counselors 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.
  • 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 Florida from October 1 - 15, 2020.  A total of 400 residents completed the survey.  Survey results asked of all respondents have a maximum margin of error of ± 4.9% points.  Responses are weighted by age and gender to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the adult population (18+) in Florida. 

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 60 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.