At least 10% drop in holiday travel this year; biggest decrease since 2008

U.S.

NEW YORK (NewsNation Now) — Like the rest of our world at the moment, the holiday season will look a lot different this year. 

As it approaches, officials across the country are urging people to use caution due to COVID-19. They say if you’re thinking about traveling to spend Thanksgiving among friends and family, you might want to think again.

It seems a lot of Americans already are.

Experts expect to see at least a 10% drop in holiday travel this year — which would mark the biggest decrease since the 2008 recession — and health officials say that sounds like great news to them.

Governors from across the Midwest teamed-up for a Zoom call with reporters Tuesday to issue a warning about holiday travel.

“This Thanksgiving is going to look different than others have before,” said Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer. “And that’s because it has to.”

“It takes each of us,” said Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear. ”Because our lives are connected, our health is connected, our economy is connected to those decisions.”

NewsNation hit the streets from Manhattan to Missouri and found many holiday plans changed some time ago, as people saw the COVID infection rate going back up.

New Yorker Jay Jones said his travel plans are on hold until the New Year when he hopes a new vaccine will make life easier and safer.

“I was planning to visit my mother in California,” he said. “I’m going to postpone the trip.“

AAA spokesman Nick Chabarria says the agency is expecting about 95% of travel this season to be done by car. 

“And that gives people a little bit of flexibility,” he said. “Even if they need to change their plans the day of.”

Holiday travel volume has been rising for the last 11 years, but air travel this season is expected to be down 50%. And while there will be a lot of people on the road, analysts say that number will also be down, by well over 4 million.

There are some positive signs a bit down the road.

Some airlines report advance holiday bookings are actually higher than expected, and the CEO of JetBlue predicts the summer travel season to be relatively strong.

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