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More than half of Americans plan to travel for Thanksgiving amid pandemic

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) —More than half of Americans still plan on traveling for Thanksgiving this year, amid the ongoing pandemic, according to Tripadvisor.

While overall travel is down about 14% from last year, Tripadvisor says about 56% of Americans are traveling for the upcoming holiday.

The Centers for Disease Control said traveling for the holiday poses an increased risk for COVID-19 transmission and recommend staying home to celebrate.

Just under a quarter of people, or 22%, plan on socially distant stays in a hotel or vacation rental.

Road trips are preferred over flying this year, TripAdvisor says, with about 76% planning to drive to their destination and only 11% planning to fly.

"Despite COVID-19 concerns, the majority of Americans are still traveling this Thanksgiving. The way in which consumers travel, however, will look very different from past years," said Christopher Hsi, Consumer Market Research Lead Analyst for Tripadvisor. "This year, we can expect shorter trips with smaller groups of people for more intimate, close knit gatherings. Many are taking day trips (24%) or spending one night at their destination. Americans are also continuing to avoid big cities, instead opting for warm weather and beach destinations in southern states. We do see, however, that Boomers are less likely to travel this year compared to last (29% vs. 51%)."

Travelers will want to watch the roads Thanksgiving Day and day after as those are projected to be the busiest travel times.

Those traveling for the holiday should be aware of the risks, CDC says.

High risk activities include:

  • Going shopping in crowded stores just before, on, or after Thanksgiving
  • Participating or being a spectator at a crowded race
  • Attending crowded parades
  • Attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside of your household
  • Using alcohol or drugs that may alter judgment and make it more difficult to practice COVID-19 safety measures.

Having a smaller family dinner with those in your household or a virtual celebration is recommended this year. See CDC's full guidelines here.

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