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More road trips, but less travel overall, expected this summer

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, this summer looks to be a big one for road trips.

According to a news release from AAA, New Englanders will take an estimated 38 million road excursions this summer, just a slight 2% decrease from last year. Flying is expected to decrease precipitously — by about 75%.

Road trips will account for 97% of summer travel, with most people taking at least two road trips, according to the AAA release.

"This summer we will see the return of the Great American Road Trip," said Amy Parmenter, spokesperson for AAA in the greater Hartford area. "Instead of just one major summer getaway planned and booked long in advance, travelers will be taking more trips that are planned seven days to just 48 hours before departure."

A total of 37.6 million New Englanders are forecast to travel by car, 700,000 by plane and 700,000 by rail or cruise.

The American Hotel and Lodging Association noted a relative downtick in nationwide travel this summer after commissioning a survey from marketing research and technology company Morning Consult. The survey was conducted among a national sample of 2,200 adults. Nearly, 1,000 of those surveyed indicated plans to travel this year.

The survey found 44% of Americans are planning overnight vacation or leisure travel this year, "with high interest in road trips, family events, and long weekends over the summer months," the association news release said.

The association came to conclusions similar to AAA's on road tripping.

"Summer road trips will take center stage, with 72% planning an overnight vacation via car over the next five months. Of these, 75% expect to drive two or more hours," the release said. "On their next overnight trip, 43% plan to stay with family and friends, and 39% plan to stay in a hotel; just 9% plan to stay at a short-term rental such as an Airbnb or VRBO, and 5% in a camper or RV."

About 78% of trips this summer are expected to be for four nights or fewer, according to the association survey.

The association release stated that going into the Fourth of July weekend, hotel bookings are strongest in beach towns and smaller markets.

For those planning on traveling to Connecticut for the holiday weekend, the state has joined New Jersey and New York in issuing travel advisories requiring people from Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah to quarantine for 14 days.

s.spinella@theday.com 

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