Interest in road trips increases as coronavirus cases rise in popular vacation spots

As coronavirus cases rise in vacation spots such as Florida, travel agents say they’re seeing an increase in people wanting to stay local.

“Maybe driving somewhere to a little bed-and-breakfast in Maryland or Pennsylvania, that’s it.”

Tammy Sivers, a travel agent based in Maryland with Travel Leaders, said people are mostly rescheduling their big trips for next year and staying local instead.

She said she expects places such as Ocean City, Maryland, and Virginia Beach to be more popular than trips out of state this summer and fall.

“I just had people that were going to go to Florida and canceled because now Florida’s cases are now out the roof, so now they’re afraid. They don’t want to go to Florida, which you can’t blame them,” Sivers said.

And, she said, it’s getting harder to find flights for those who are booking as airlines make cuts.

“You’re flying from here to [Los Angeles] there’s normally five nonstops a day; now, there’s one nonstop a day,” Sivers said.

Jennifer Brown, a travel adviser also with Travel Leaders, said she thinks it’s time that people start traveling if they’re comfortable, and not sick.

“We need to get out and explore our country,” Brown said.

She said she planned a road trip to Vermont and Maine this summer with her children, and she is still planning on going.

“I’ll still be going with my kids,” Brown said. “Road trips can be very freeing. Domestic travel is not only my biggest moneymaker, but my heart.”

Brown said about half her clients are canceling, and half are rescheduling, mostly for next year.

“It’s very devastating for the whole industry. It’s scary and unprecedented. Our industry can’t take this too much longer,” Brown said.

Sivers said the recovery after Sept. 11, 2001 came in about two weeks. That’s the worst she has seen in the travel industry. She said she hopes people feel comfortable booking trips again soon.

“I believe it will come back hopefully by the fall, and people will start traveling again.”

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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