AAA 2020 Summer Travel Forecast: See a decline

(CNN) – Summer is here, and the time is right for … it doesn’t matter.

The coronavirus pandemic nearly stopped leisure travel in the United States for much of spring, and with summer upon us, many Americans are still unsure what vacations are supposed to be like in 2020.
After canceling its annual Memorial Day travel forecast due to the pandemic, the Automobile Association of America (AAA) has released a 2020 summer travel forecast spanning July 1 to September 30.

By the numbers

According to AAA, Americans will make more than 700 million trips in July, August, and September, which is 120 million fewer than in 2019.

In an alternate universe where the pandemic never hit, “AAA would be projecting 857 million trips in the third quarter, an increase of 3.6% over last year. According to this analysis, the pandemic wiped out nearly 150 million people trips this summer” .

The overall 14.6% decrease in travel is primarily due to the reduction in air travel, according to AAA. “The expected air transport volume of 15.1 million will be 74% lower than last year’s levels.”

As for other mass transit modes, the AAA forecast projects that bus, train and cruise travel “will see a similar decline to air travel, as the expected travel volume of 9.3 million is 86% below of the level seen in 2019. “

The positive? Road trips!

While the overall numbers are surprisingly low, and this is the first drop in travel volume since 2009, the forecast for car travel is only down 3%.

“Americans will go out and explore this summer, although they are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach when it comes to booking and are likely to book more longer weekend getaways than extended vacations,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA travel. in a press release

“When they venture out, the majority of travelers, 683 million, will hit the road to satisfy their passion for travel.”

Where are the people going?

The AAA Summer Travel forecast also includes some data on the destinations its users are looking for this summer, based on searches on its website,, between March 15 and June 14. Destination # 1 is Denver, followed by Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

The low? More cases of coronavirus

The AAA’s forecast and data along with the increase in coronavirus cases in the United States as restrictions are lifted makes decision-making about whether to travel right now, even by car, even more difficult.

In fact, California experienced its largest one-day increase in Covid-19 cases on Wednesday.

CNN’s Christina Maxouris reported: “At least 26 states are seeing new coronavirus cases increase compared to the previous week. Remember, the number of states where cases are increasing is also increasing.”

While the outlook for summer travel is far from optimistic, in terms of volume reduction and health risk, we can always choose to put our energy into travel planning next year.

Until the summer of 2021!