Colo. (KRDO) -- Typically people travel a lot during the holidays, however, this year the vast majority of Coloradans are foregoing their travel plans and opting to stay home instead, according to data from the American Automobile Association.
Due to the pandemic, traveling this year has limitations and strict guidelines, causing the first drop in year-end holiday travel since 2008.
According to AAA, 2020 has the lowest holiday travel volume since 2002. AAA projects that while 84.5 million Americans may still travel between Dec. 23 through Jan. 3, that's roughly a 29% decline from 2019. In Colorado, AAA anticipates 1.5 million to travel, a number expected to drop as people continue to cancel plans.
"For more than a century, AAA has been encouraging folks to get up and go to wherever they'd like, whenever they'd like. Not in 2020. An extraordinary year demands an extraordinary message: Unless you absolutely have to travel, stay home this holiday season," said Director of Public Affairs for AAA Colorado Skyler McKinley. "The travel environment on the other side of this crisis will be unbelievably enriching – but to get there, we need to cancel our plans and keep our circles small. It will be worth it, I promise."
AAA expects the majority of Coloradans choosing to travel will do so by car and tells drivers to be prepared for congested roads and a similar increase in traffic, like the spike seen during Thanksgiving. Gas prices are also expected to remain cheaper than this time last year by nearly 50 cents, according to AAA.
Before Coloradans embark on their holiday travels, AAA suggests people:
- Review travel restrictions
- Get tested
- Follow all public health guidelines
- Verify before you go by making sure you're able to find hotels or rental services when you get to your destination
- Bring disinfecting and cleaning materials
Of course, they also remind travelers to be prepared for any potential breakdowns and car accidents. In Colorado, AAA anticipates that more than 11,000 drivers will need roadside assistance during the holiday travel period.