Usually this time of year, Americans are planning Memorial Day weekend trips to unofficially kick off the start of summer. But because of the novel coronavirus outbreak, this year is going to look different.
AAA Spokesperson Jeanette Casselano says the agency doesn’t know exactly what to expect this holiday weekend, and for the first time in 20 years, AAA isn't putting out a travel forecast.
"What we do anticipate is extremely low numbers,” said Casselano. “In fact, the potential to set a new record-low number of people who travel for the holiday."
The previous low was back in 2009, when we were coming out of the Great Recession. There were 31 million people who traveled that weekend compared to last year when 43 million people traveled. It was the second highest number of people on record. Casselano says they expect when people do start to travel, they’ll likely stay closer to home.
"Travel is a personal decision and one we make when we have all the facts in front of us. So, as people become more comfortable with travel, they’ll likely gravitate toward road trips first, and as they feel more comfortable, they’ll likely start to book travel in terms of getting on planes," explained Casselano.
AAA expects when people do start flying again, Americans will still keep their travel plans domestic, not just because of coronavirus concerns, but because it’s a presidential election year — when many people hold off on international travel anyway. AAA says people typically want to see how the election will affect the economy or international relations.