CALIFORNIA — Most travelers in the United States won’t be boarding planes or cruise ships this summer amid the new coronavirus pandemic. Instead, Americans will take 700 million road trips, accounting for 97 percent of all vacation-related travel, the American Automobile Association estimates.
Although congestion is anticipated to be lower than usual this summer, travelers are still urged to plan ahead.
“While the amount people drive is still low for this time of year, we know millions will be taking road trips in the months ahead," INRIX transportation analyst Bob Pishue said in a statement. "The good news is, the congestion they will encounter is nowhere near what we typically see in a summer.”
Here’s the information you need to know for summer travel in California.
California is ranked among the nation’s bottom places for traffic congestion, meaning you will probably not run into “normal” traffic congestion while traveling.
AAA estimates air travel will drop by 74 percent this summer compared with last year, and travel by cruise ship and bus is projected to decrease by 86 percent. Meanwhile, road trips are likely to climb by 3.6 percent.
“AAA travel experts have begun to see positive trends in travel, noting that hotel and rental car bookings have been gradually increasing since April,” AAA Manager of Public and Government Affairs Ragina C. Ali said in a statement. “Air travel has been slower to rebound. The share of travelers making plans 48 hours to 7 days before departure — a sign that people are arranging last-minute trips — is significantly higher than normal.”
The good news is while the summer of road trips are in full swing, gas prices are expected to remain near an average of $2.25, down 15 percent from last year.
According to AAA, vacation goers are trending away from large urban metros, opting instead to visit less-congested regions such as Denver, which rose in popularity from No. 10 last year to No. 1 this year. Still, two California cities landed on the top 10 list. People are also venturing to Las Vegas, Portland and Seattle — easy road trips from California.
The top 10 most popular vacation destinations for summer 2020 are:
- Las Vegas
- Los Angeles
- Portland, OR
- Myrtle Beach, SC
- San Diego