A new AAA travel survey conducted in January reveals that 59% of Tennesseans are uncomfortable traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic. The main concerns are fears of getting sick (63%); the number of COVID-19 cases (60%) and new strains of the virus (50%).

The travel industry has been hit hard by this pandemic. Nearly three-in-five Tennesseans (59%) canceled or rescheduled travel plans in 2020. Currently, over half (52%) of Tennesseans are comfortable staying in a hotel, while only 29% feel comfortable taking a commercial flight. The majority (88%) feel most comfortable traveling in their personal vehicle.

With more known about the virus and how it spreads, there appears to be growing confidence among some travelers. Nearly one-in-five (19%) of Tennesseans say they are more comfortable traveling now than when the pandemic began. Their growing confidence was attributed to the implementation of mask use and cleaning policies (42%); more knowledge about how the virus spreads (37%); quarantine fatigue/want to get out of the house (27%); and more confidence in medical treatment and outcomes (25%)

This year, nearly half of Tennesseans (49%) plan to take at least one vacation of three days or more. One-third (33%) of respondents plan to take multiple trips. However, over one-in-three residents say they will feel more comfortable traveling after receiving both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine (35%) and when cases begin to decrease (38%).

“The COVID-19 vaccine truly is the key to restoring Americans’ confidence in traveling again,” said Megan Cooper, spokeswoman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “With health experts predicting widespread vaccinations by the summer, AAA Travel Advisors are seeing growing interest in bookings for the second half of the year.”

 

Additional survey highlights

80% will wear a mask in public while traveling;

35% are more likely to visit a destination with a mask mandate;

46% are driving less due to the pandemic (42% - no change in driving habits);

33% are more likely to purchase travel insurance than before the pandemic;

74% will not travel in Q1 (46% cite the pandemic as a reason why);

“For over 100 years, AAA has been helping travelers travel safely and enjoyably,” Cooper said. “That’s why AAA encourages the use of a trusted travel agent. They are the experts who help you consider options and make informed decisions that fit your comfort level.”

The AAA Consumer Pulse Survey was conducted online among residents living in Tennessee from January 15 t0 24. A total of 400 residents completed the survey. Survey results asked of all respondents have a maximum margin of error of ± 4.9% points. Responses are weighted by age and gender to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the adult population (18+) in Tennessee.