More road trips, less air travel expected in coming months

Sep 4, 2020

As we head into the final long weekend of summer, the pandemic continues to affect central New Yorker’s travel plans. 

When the pandemic hit, many people were forced to cancel spring and summer travel plans. According to AAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Carey, those trips were replaced with excursions closer to home. The Thousand Islands and Adirondacks were the top destinations this summer.  

"We had so many requests for road trip information from AAA over the summer, it was hard to keep up with all the demand for TripTik and maps and tour books,” Carey said. “People wanted to go places they could be socially distant. They wanted information on state parks and more.”

And with continued low gas prices, Carey expects that trend to continue, with fall foliage and wine tour weekends as popular autumn destinations. Travel Director Brian Murray said the other trend right now, is people are turning pent up travel demand into plans for trips next year.

"Next year travel first quarter, second quarter is very heavy with Caribbean warm water destinations, so we’re looking for that uptick,” Murray said.

One thing that hasn’t rebounded: air travel. Carey said airports in upstate New York tell her they are operating at about 1/7th of the capacity compared to last year.

“They’re saying they’re running 15% of last year, some of the reports I’ve heard from local airports,” Carey said. “It’s down significantly.”