Summer tends to be a heavy travel season for most, but not surprisingly, 2020 was a big exception. New data from Booking.com reveals exactly how the global pandemic affected Americans' travel plans.
During the summer months, June through August, Booking.com estimates 91 percent of the distance traveled by Americans was within the U.S—that’s more than double the percentage from the same time period last year. Meanwhile, the actual distance that Americans traveled saw an equally steep decline. In the summer of 2019, the average distance traveled was 1,042 miles. This summer? That distance was down by 51 percent, with the average trip covering just 513 miles. That’s the equivalent between New York City and Pittsburgh, Memphis and Chicago, or New Orleans and Dallas.
“During these unprecedented times it's reassuring to see that while our plans and priorities may have changed, our passion for travel has not,” said Arjan Dijk, the senior vice president and chief marketing officer for the site. "The summer of 2020 proved that the happiness travel can bring is not simply measured in miles and that there are plenty of adventures to be explored and comfort to be found right next door.”
As some international destinations have closed borders or require quarantine periods, these trips that are closer to home are right in line with the travel trends we’ve already seen, including a major increase in road trips.
As far as where Americans traveled this summer, popular spots like Las Vegas and Myrtle Beach remained, well, popular, but there was also extra interest in seaside destinations like Wildwood, New Jersey; Ocean City, Maryland; and Wilmington, North Carolina.
Travel accommodations have seen a slight shift as well. Resorts and motels were the top two and three choices, respectively. Any guesses what took the number one spot? Lodges. Though this type of sleeping arrangement only had 14 percent interest a year ago, this summer it was the top choice for American travelers who may have preferred a more quaint, secluded place to rest their head or maybe their favorite hotel has been one of the many hit with closures.
Now, with experts predicting a possible second wave of the virus this fall and winter, it remains to be seen how holiday travel plans will change.