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AAA Survey: Traveler Optimism Grows as Summer Approaches; Vaccinations Fuel Traveler Confidence

Traveler confidence is growing as COVID-19 vaccinations become more readily available. A new AAA survey reveals that nearly half of North Carolinians (48%) are comfortable taking a trip. That’s a 12 percentage-point increase compared to our previous survey in January.

View the full survey here

North Carolinians cite the vaccine and increased safety measures, as the top two reasons they feel comfortable traveling now. More than a third (35%) say they have received the vaccine. Even more (42%) base their confidence on masks and sanitization.

“After a full year in a global pandemic, there is a lot of pent-up demand for travel that our AAA travel agents are seeing tremendous enthusiasm from North Carolinians who are eager to plan a trip,” said Tiffany Wright, spokesperson, AAA – The Auto Club Group in the Carolinas. “While many want to wait until the summer, some have already received their vaccine and are motivated to travel now.”

According to the Survey:

  • 61% of North Carolinians expect to travel in 2021
  • 36% of travelers will take their next 3-day trip before June
  • 69% of North Carolinians say they would be traveling more if there was not a pandemic
  • 45% of North Carolinians say they will feel more comfortable traveling when they are fully vaccinated

Trips, Transportation and Lodging
North Carolinians appear to be more willing to fly and stay in a hotel or resort. According to the survey:

  • 54% of North Carolinians are comfortable staying in a hotel/resort (14 percentage-points more than Q1)
  • 36% are comfortable taking a flight (13 percentage-point more than Q1)

The most popular vacations for Q2 travelers are:

  • Beach destinations (46%)
  • Resort vacation (all-inclusive/multi-amenity hotels) (19%)
  • National/state parks (18%)

“Spring and summertime travelers seem to value outdoor destinations like beaches and state parks now more than ever,” Wright continued. “Trips like these allow people to satisfy their thirst for travel, while also remaining socially distant in an open air environment.”

Travel Insurance
A growing number of North Carolinians will also consider buying travel insurance, due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic. More than two in five residents (41%) report being more likely to purchase travel insurance now than before the pandemic began. That’s an increase of four percentage points from Q1.

Since the pandemic, many travel insurance providers have adjusted their policies to provide protection for travelers who become ill with COVID-19 either before or during their trip. Because coverages can vary by policy, AAA Travel Advisors can help travelers choose the right policy that best protects their finances and health before and during their trip.

AAA Travel Agents and Other Resources
Travel agents are more important than ever during a pandemic. As more people are booking travel again, popular destinations are filling up.
Travel advisors serve as your advocate to help you assess options and navigate new safety protocols before, during and after a trip, and can answer questions related to:

  • Travel insurance options
  • What destinations and attractions are open both domestically and internationally
  • Which operators still have options available in popular destinations
  • Destination-specific testing and quarantine requirements
  • What to do if you need to make last-minute changes to a trip

Digital Resources for Planning a Road Trip
Road trips to domestic destinations continue to be the preferred way for many to travel, but even these trips require additional planning and preparation. COVID requirements by location are imbedded in AAA’s app and website, so you can easily see these rules while you plan your road trip.  Also, you can search for hotels based upon AAA’s Diamond Ratings and Best of Housekeeping Awards to help you make a confident decision.  Go to the AAA App or COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map and TripTik.AAA.com for the latest state and local travel restrictions, and to identify which rest stops, gas stations, restaurants and hotels are open along their route.