AAA forecasting 1st decline in summer travel since 2009 this summer

Americans are projected to take 15 percent fewer trips this summer compared to last summer due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the first decline in summer travel since 2009, according to the latest data from AAA. 

AAA forecasts Americans will take 700 million trips between July 1 and Sept. 30. Were it not for the pandemic, AAA says it would be projecting Americans would be taking 857 million trips, meaning the pandemic wiped out nearly 150 million in-person trips this summer. 

While booking trends show Americans are making travel plans, AAA says the number of travelers arranging more last minute trips are significantly higher than normal. 

AAA says hotel and rental car bookings have been gradually increasing since April, although air travel has been slower to rebound.

AAA found more people are choosing to travel by car this summer, likely as a result of COVID-19 restrictions. AAA says it expects 97 percent of trips this summer to be road trips, up from an average of 87 percent over the last five years.