Due to public health concerns, AAA Utah reported that the vast majority of the general public decided to stay home over the year-end holidays. AAA estimates that at least 34 million fewer people traveled compared to last year’s holiday season, while the estimated 84.5 million people who did travel from Dec. 23 through Jan. 3 was down at least 29 percent from last year.
“With COVID19 cases steadily increasing [in December], the expected continued rise prompted some would-be travelers to not follow through with travel plans,” said Aldo Vazquez, AAA Utah spokesperson.
This estimate is in line with Thanksgiving travel trends. AAA said up to 50 million people travelled for the Thanksgiving holiday, which would have been a decline of 10 percent from 2019. While final Thanksgiving travel numbers are not yet available, AAA expects the drop to be closer to 15–20 percent.
The Centers for Disease Control urged the public not to travel for the year-end holidays, warning that travel increases the chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.
The majority of those who decided to travel did so by car, with road trips accounting for 96 percent of holiday travel. Up to 81 million travelers went by car, a decline of at least 25 percent compared to last year. Air travel dropped by 60 percent, seeing 4.1 million fewer travelers packing into airports than last year,. All other modes of transportation saw a drop in travel of 87 percent.