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With the festive season approaching, many Americans are weighing the pros and cons of traveling, as they typically would, to spend the holidays with loved ones amid ongoing pandemic conditions. Even the travel industry's most reliable consumer patterns have been upended since COVID-19 struck in March, and it's inevitable that travel trends during the remainder of 2020 will diverge from what the world is accustomed to.
Online travel company Skyscanner has used its unique expertise and data resources to create a forecast of the trends in U.S. air travel that we can expect to witness leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday. The first is that the busiest day for Thanksgiving 2020 travel will be the day that immediately precedes the celebration, Wednesday, November 25.
"November is traditionally the busiest month for travel in the U.S. and, although we won't see the passenger volumes we saw last year or the year before, we do expect it to be busier than usual," said Mark Crossey, U.S. Travel Expert for Skyscanner. "Searches and bookings are increasing weekly and we see high intent to travel around the weeks of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year."
In 2019, 61 percent of Thanksgiving travelers booked their trips within the six weeks leading up to the holiday. Given the prevailing 2020 trend toward making last-minute bookings in view of ever-changing state restrictions and flight availability, that tendency seems likely to hold true this year, as well.
Skyscanner's search data has also yielded a top-ten list of most-searched-for Thanksgiving travel destinations among U.S. users, some of which seem to indicate that many Americans are planning on heading off on holiday vacations, rather than just journeying to see friends or relatives.
"Mexico has been a very popular destination for travelers since restrictions have been lifted. We have also seen our users searching, planning and booking travel to winter sun destinations such as Florida."
Skyscanner's top ten Thanksgiving destinations thus far are:
1. New York
4. Las Vegas
6. Los Angeles
7. Fort Lauderdale
"With airlines offering protected fares and prices remaining extremely competitive, there are some fantastic deals to be had that won't leave vacationers out-of-pocket, should the booking be affected by changing restrictions," Crossey commented. "We have introduced icons and filters to ensure that travel options covered by flexible policies are highlighted, as well as providing safety and hygiene ratings for airlines to ensure that travelers can book with more peace of mind."
Laurie Baratti is a San Diego-based journalist whose work has previously appeared in publications like TravelAge West, SPACE,...
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