Summer Travel After Coronavirus: How Americans Are Planning Vacations

While states may be scaling back their social distancing guidelines and certain businesses like restaurants are reopening, the coronavirus pandemic has still changed the lives of Americans in many ways. It's canceled events like graduations and birthday parties and postponed music festivals and events, and it will continue to have ripple effects for the foreseeable future. Continued concerns about coronavirus as well as self-quarantining have affected many aspects of how Americans are planning their summer vacations.

According to a survey of 2,000 U.S. adult drivers conducted by travel center company Pilot Flying J, here are the ways that the coronavirus pandemic has changed how Americans plan to travel this summer.

Something to look forward to

After spending more time indoors and generally feeling more confined in daily life, many Americans needed something to look forward to that would take their minds off coronavirus anxieties. Almost half (44%) of the survey respondents said that they used their time in quarantine to plan future trips, with 88% having at least one exciting trip already mapped out for summer.

More comfortable driving

More than half of respondents plan to take a road trip this summer, so travelers might find highways more crowded than usual due to coronavirus concerns. More than a third (35%) of respondents said they'd prefer driving over flying post-COVID-19. People reported they would be willing to add an average of six hours and 38 minutes to their travel time so that they could drive instead of fly.

Keeping safety in mind

Though the survey asked respondents to answer questions under the assumption that social distancing guidelines and travel restrictions would be lifted, many Americans said they would still use additional safety measures while traveling. The leading adjustment would be traveling with spare masks and gloves (50%), followed by only stopping at pre-planned places where they know it's clean and safe (40%) and bringing different supplies (37%).

Seeking fresh air

Many Americans have felt cooped up in quarantine, and after binging feel-good shows and perfecting their bread-baking techniques, they're ready for some fresh air. More than 50% of survey respondents reported that the pandemic has made them more likely to take an outdoors-focused trip. If you're looking for breathtaking natural sights, check out some of the most photogenic spots in every state.

A change in company

Quarantining together in close quarters has put a strain on many people's marriages or their relationship with their kids or roommates. That might be why 62% of respondents admit they need a break from the loved ones they were cooped up with during quarantine. If you're planning a solo trip, consider some of the safest tourist destinations around the world.

Taking advantage of deals

Because of the pandemic's effect on the economy, many people have been focusing on saving money during quarantine. But the majority of people who took the survey admitted they were still trying to save money on their next vacation. More than half (54%) of respondents said they have taken advantage of travel deals and discounts available due to COVID-19. More than 30% of those surveyed took a discounted trip when the pandemic began but before travel restrictions were instituted. And about 20% have booked a cheaper trip for the future.

Reconnecting with loved ones

For many, quarantine slowed down their pace of life and allowed them time and space to focus on what matters most. In fact, more than half (56%) of people said they reconnected with friends or family members they hadn't communicated with in a while. Now that states are easing social distancing measures, many people plan to follow up with an in-person reunion. Of those people who reconnected, 64% plan to visit one of these friends or family members this summer.

Taking time off

With the stresses of working from home and kids doing remote learning, soaring unemployment rates and the mental health strain the pandemic has taken, many Americans said they were thinking about taking more than a short weekend getaway this summer. Of those planning to travel, 65% admitted to considering a three-month hiatus from work and traveling instead this summer.

So, what if you planned a Disney trip?

One of the most iconic American vacations is taking a trip to Disney World. However, starting in mid-March, the most magical place on Earth shut its doors to help flatten the curve, and it still remains closed indefinitely. If you want to reschedule or book a Disney World vacation during the age of coronavirus, know that Disney resort properties are taking hotel reservations for July 1 and later.

What about a cruise?

If you had your heart set on kicking back on the deck of a cruise ship before the coronavirus pandemic, you'll likely have to rebook your summer cruise. While the situation is ever-changing, as of May 21, the U.S. State Department states that American citizens, particularly travelers with underlying health conditions, should not travel by cruise ship. Many cruise lines have suspended some if not all summer sailings. If you decide to book a future cruise, most cruise lines have adopted flexible cancellation policies.

You can plan a staycation

If you aren't comfortable going on your bucket list vacation this summer or want to save money, you could always opt for a social distancing staycation. You could decorate your home like a foreign city, play themed music and order delivery from a restaurant with the cuisine of your dream destination. You could also whip up a tropical cocktail or take inspiration from the top cocktails people are searching for during coronavirus quarantine.