Holiday travel declines due to COVID-19

Local News

LUBBOCK, Texas — As Christmas draws nearer some folks are still planning to travel for the holidays despite warnings from the Centers for Disease Control, but overall — many people are choosing to stay home. 

Compared to 2019, Texans traveling during the holidays has dropped by 29 percent.

“The pandemic of course has wreaked havoc on the travel industry and consumer’s ability to travel,” said Spokesperson for AAA, Daniel Armbruster. “With COVID-19 case numbers rising, we are just expecting that as those numbers rise — we will see fewer people travel.”

AAA is predicting 34 million fewer travelers across the country this year, but are still expecting that almost 7 million Texans will travel, many taking a wait and see approach.

“Many of them will make a last minute decision of whether or not to travel,” Armbruster said. “We think that most people will decide at that last moment, if they are planning to drive, that they will in the end not actually travel. So we could see a bigger decline than what’s forecasted.”

AAA expects most travel to be between December 23 and January 3. And with road trips accounting for 96 percent of holiday travel, it seems Texans are looking to play it safe. 

“As the CDC is recommending that people do not travel, so it is a personal choice if someone decides they want to travel. They need to know the risks, though,” said Armbruster.

And as people turn on their engines and hit the road, the Texas Department of Transportation reminds drivers to check on their vehicles before leaving.

“Make sure everything is working properly, tires are inflated correctly, their lights are working, their headlights and blinkers, everything that would ensure they have a safe trip,” said TxDOT Public Information Officer for the Lubbock District, Dianah Ascencio.

But whether it’s crossing state lines or driving down the street, TxDOT said safety should always come first.

“Drivers should never be too busy to put safety first,” said Ascencio. 

AAA also says that if you are planning to travel out of state, make sure you know that state’s local guidelines for the coronavirus before going.

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