A Surprisingly Large Number of Americans Will Be Road-Tripping This Weekend

According to intelligence platform Arrivalist, there isn't a huge drop-off from this time last year

A Surprisingly Large Number of Americans Will Be Road-Tripping This Weekend
Jed Villejo/Unsplash

According to the Daily Travel Index, a real-time travel tool launched by intelligence platform Arrivalist two months ago, 37 million Americans will be taking road trips this weekend. Arrivalist qualifies a road trip as “where the user has traveled a minimum of 50 miles and spent a minimum of two hours at the destination,” which sounds about right, and by that definition, the American road trip is actually alive and well — 37 million road-trippers is only an 11 percent decrease from 4th of July Weekend last year, when 41 million Americans took to the roads.

It’s a different story at TSA checkpoints, where travel numbers are down 75 percent from the same weekend last year. (Though 626,516 travelers — yesterday’s number — is one of the highest figures domestic airports have seen since air travel cratered to just 87,534 in mid-April.) But that almost certainly plays a role; Americans have cabin fever, and with the Caribbean only just reopening, Europe closed for the foreseeable future, and concerns over behavior on airplanes, packing the car for a change of scenery nearby makes a lot of sense.

And road trips confidence has actually held steady among American travelers, even as reopening plans have been affected by a recent surge in cases. (The U.S. has broken its COVID-19 case records two days in a row.) As the CEO of Arivalist, Cree Lawson, recently told Skift: “Urban centers with events-driven industries have had a disproportionately negative impact from Covid … [but] any combination of remote attractions and attractions by the water, if they’re open, are having a disproportionate beneficial impact.”

That trend will most likely continue; especially as many Americans seem to have deemed quarantine efforts as part of the past. To make sure that road trips can continue throughout the summer and fall (shouts to the leaf peepers out there) in a safe, responsible manner, Americans need to let common sense and basic human decency reign. While on the road, that specifically means: wear your mask, bring hand sanitizer, observe regulations at rest stops, take extra care when using public bathrooms, dispose of waste appropriately, and pack food and water to limit public interactions. If you are eating “out”, stick to drive-thrus or establishments with outdoor seating. And if you’re from a surging state, or are feeling sick, just sit the next couple weeks out. The fun will come soon enough.

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