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AAA: COVID-19 causing big drop in Thanksgiving travel plans

The Salt Lake International Airport saw plenty of passengers the weekend before Thanksgiving, but not as many as usual. (KSL-TV)

SALT LAKE CITY – AAA is predicting the biggest one year drop in Thanksgiving travel since the Great Recession. Not surprisingly, COVID-19 is the biggest reason why. 

AAA spokesman Aldo Vazquez says state rules and regulations are also playing a role. 

“Americans, right now, are just monitoring and then responding to the public health landscape we’re experiencing,” Vazquez says. “They’re being very methodical and very careful about making their travel plans.”

Those who do decide to travel seem to be sticking closer to home. 

Even so, COVID-19 remains a big factor in deciding where to go.

“Americans are planning these shorter, closer to home trips where they can socially distance and be outside, rather than these long, extended stays,” Vazquez says. “And choosing to go to places like Denver and Flagstaff, Arizona.”

AAA also found rising unemployment is putting the breaks on Thanksgiving travel too. 

Bus, train, and cruise ship travel is predicted to see up to a 75% drop from last year. Airline travel is expected to be off by half. 

The number of car trips, however, is actually projected to rise by 0.8%, possibly because gas prices are low.