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Thanksgiving travel expected to be at lowest level in 4 years, AAA Colorado projects

Due to COVID-19 concerns, many Coloradans will skip Thanksgiving, or only have small gatherings, AAA Colorado said.

COLORADO, USA — Thanksgiving travel is expected to be the lowest in four years - and see the largest decline since the Great Recession due to COVID-19, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA),  

In Colorado, it is anticipated by AAA that 897,000 residents will travel, and that number is expected to decline as people rethink plans to mitigate risks associated with traveling during the pandemic.

Data from the Colorado Traveler Survey that AAA conducted shows 70% of Coloradans canceled or postponed their 2020 travel plans as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The overall number of Coloradans traveling by plane is projected to be 34,000, which is a 45% decline from 2019, with most opting for travel by car, according to AAA. 

According to their survey, 73% of Coloradans are comfortable traveling in their own vehicle, compared to 28% who are comfortable taking a commercial flight.

Given that information, AAA said that Nov. 25 will be the busiest day on the road, and the national average for gas is $2.11 per gallon, the lowest seasonal gas prince since 2015. 

> The video above aired on Dec. 3, 2019 when AAA Colorado reports historic call volume from recent November snowstorm.

"The goal for this incredibly abnormal Thanksgiving holiday is to make sure we can have a normal one next year," said Skyler McKinley, director of public affairs for AAA Colorado. "To that end, reconsider your travel plans, stick to small gatherings, wear a mask, wash your hands, and think about others as we express gratitude for the fact that we will eventually make it past this challenge."

AAA has some guidelines on what to know if you do choose to travel this holiday season:

  • Review travel restrictions. Check AAA’s COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map as well as CDC’s COVID-19 data tracker for the latest state and local travel restrictions. 
  • Get tested. Many destinations require negative COVID tests before admitting travelers. 
  • Follow Public Health Guidance. Consistent use of face masks combined with social distancing (at least 6 feet) and regular hand-washing are the best ways to lower the risk of contracting COVID-19. 
  • Be sure to pack face masks, disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer and a thermometer to help protect and monitor health. Also, pack water and extra snacks to reduce the need to stop along the trip.
  • Plan out the road trip. 
  • Verify Before You Go. Call ahead to minimize any last-minute surprises. Prior to any hotel stay, call ahead to ensure your hotel is open and ask what precautions they are taking to protect guests. 
  • Ask about social distancing protocols such as capacity reductions in common spaces, hotel staff requirements to wear masks at all times and if all amenities are available, like restaurant dining. If renting a car, ask what has been done to clean the vehicle. For extra peace of mind, use disinfecting wipes to wipe down door handles, steering wheels, shifters and control panels.
  • If flying, AAA said to air travelers that in-flight amenities, including food and beverage services, may not be available. Also, as a precaution, wipe down your seat, armrest, belt buckle and tray table using disinfecting wipes. 

"The most important thing to remember right now is that the decision to travel is a personal one," McKinley said. "The CDC is clear: Staying home is the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19. If you do decide to travel, it is absolutely critical that you take every precaution possible to protect yourself and others."

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