Recent study shows that COVID-19 has little impact on travel plans

Weather & Traffic In-Depth

AUSTIN (KXAN)- As we make our way into the rush of the holiday season. a recent survey showed people are feeling more comfortable about taking to the skies and roads again for the holiday season.

Scott’s Cheap Flights, a website built around finding affordable airfare, surveyed its 2 million members to gauge their thoughts about traveling over the holiday season. It discovered that travel intent is up in 2021 versus 2020 and even 2019.

“89% of respondents said they plan to travel for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s or a combination of the three. That’s up from a third of people last year,” says Senior Product Operations Specialist, Willis Orlando, “Folks missed their families last year, they missed going on vacation, they’re ready to go out and travel again.”

The study also showed that COVID-19 had little impact on what travelers decided to do this year.

“Only between 11% and 16% of respondents said because of Covid, I am not traveling this year for the holidays and only about a quarter to a third. Folks are getting out there regardless of Covid,” says Willis.

With more people feeling the travel itch, how they’re getting there, whether by airplane or car, usually depends on the holiday.

For Thanksgiving, 52% answered they’ll be traveling by plane, while 46% said they’re driving. When it comes to Christmas, 2/3 said they’re flying and 1/3 said they’re driving. The three-week period around Christmas and New Year’s is the most expensive time to fly all year, typically starting around December 17th and lasting through January 7th or so.

However, many are still not committed to the idea of traveling just yet. Some say the year 2022 is the milestone timeframe to book that getaway.

“A small sample from the study, 10-15% said I’m not ready to travel yet, particularly internationally. Folks who are on the fence are staying domestically. Others who are a little more hesitant are writing off travel overall.”

If you do have your trip planned, experts anticipate this will be a typical holiday season, but in hyperdrive. So, travelers should expect long lines, lots of traffic and big crowds.

“Try flying or driving during off peak times. For Thanksgiving, travel on Monday, Sunday, or Thursday early in the morning,” suggests Willis, “Instead of Tuesday or Wednesday which are really crowded travel days.”

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