As social distancing becomes the norm, summer travel is likely going to be outdoorsy, with travelers staying closer to home and traveling for shorter periods of time.
One of the great things about living in the United States during the coronavirus outbreak, however, is that there is plenty of space for exploring while allowing travelers to stay farther apart from one another.
This summer, secluded campgrounds, wide-open spaces and outdoor landmarks that are not too far from home will most likely be the safest places for those who decide to go on vacation this summer.
Recent data suggests that Americans are warming up to traveling this summer and that many are thinking about hitting the road. Key findings from the latest wave of MMGY Global’s Traveler Intentions Pulse Survey (TIPS) show that there is a growing interest in road trips and destinations that are close to home.
While interest in travel is ticking up in a variety of surveys, air travel will likely remain depressed, and many travelers may opt to stay away from communal spaces such as hotels and resorts, opting for vacation home rentals, RV rentals, boat rentals or tent camping where travelers are more self-contained.
Airbnb and many other vacation rental sites have updated cleaning policies, and Airbnb is instituting a one-day space between rentals to ensure that the virus is not active in any units.
RV dealers are reporting an uptick in sales, and RV rental companies are reporting a spike in demand.
“RVs and boats provide attractive alternatives to vacation more safely as families are eager to get out of the house,” says LCI Industries’ CEO Jason Lipper in an interview with Fox Business. “At the same time, RVing and boating offer a great solution to social distancing for families that want to travel the country and experience the great outdoors.
Camping is likely to see a major spike in popularity as Americans look to get away while remaining socially distant. Pitching a tent in the wilderness is considered relatively safe in comparison to other forms of travel, and campgrounds, by nature, basically already adhere to social distancing guidelines.
“People might want to try an RV vacation. If your goal is to just get outside, you might be able to arrange to have it delivered to a state park for you,” said family travel expert Eileen Ogintz, who is the author of the syndicated column ‘Taking the Kids.’ “A drawback to camping for many may be communal bathrooms. You don’t need to worry about that if you opt for an RV or renting a cabin.”
One thing that travelers are going to be looking for is to avoid crowds and dense spaces, so summer vacations are likely to be more off the beaten path this year than ever before. Travelers need to do their due diligence when planning, however.
“You can’t just hop in the car and go like in summers past,” Ogintz points out, noting that some places may have quarantines in place. “Before you go anywhere if you are heading out of state, check the latest rules and regulations.”
The draw of travel will still inspire many to not abandon summer entirely.
“All that said, I do think people will be desperate to get away, even for a few days and perhaps later in the summer,” said Ogintz. “I’d advise reading the fine print before you book—make sure you can cancel in case anyone gets sick or there is another outbreak and things close again. And think hard about what you are comfortable with. Obviously, if anyone in the family has underlying conditions, stay home!”