The first winter holiday season since the widespread availability of the COVID-19 vaccine still carries the shadow of the virus and its variants, driving 61% of winter travelers to reach for their car keys to get to holiday celebrations, according to a national survey by Cars.com(NYSE: CARS), a leading car-shopping marketplace. Some 42% of Americans choose to hit the road by car because they don’t want to take other forms of public transportation. Thirty-nine percent will visit a destination more than 100 miles away, and more than half of respondents (56%) will head 50-plus miles from home, up 30% year-over-year.
“The holidays are a time for gathering, and with lingering pandemic concerns and the rise in remote work, travel trends are changing,” said Mike Hanley, Cars.com senior editor. “Our data state 1 in 5 travelers had a flight booked this holiday season but canceled it to drive instead. And with newfound flexibility at work, Americans are choosing to drive to their destinations and stay longer with family. Time will tell if these travel trends continue, but one thing hasn’t changed: Americans love their road trips.”
Additional insights revealed by Cars.com’s survey on winter holiday travel include:
- Holiday “work weeks” may be forever changed. Almost 70% of remote and hybrid workers say their ability to work out of the office has impacted winter holiday travel plans, and nearly a third of holiday travelers (32%) planning a trip more than 50 miles away will stay for at least a week, up from 27% for the Thanksgiving holiday.
- To beat the rush, head north and hit the road before Thursday. If driving, most winter holiday travelers (38%) will start their journeys no sooner than the morning of Dec. 23, and 1 in 3 will be going toward warmer southern climates.
1Cars.com’s survey results Nov. 17, 2021; 1,005 responses