109M Americans to travel this holiday season, AAA says

Travel expert on omicron’s impact during holiday season

Travel expert Mark Murphy weighs in on how the new coronavirus strain is impacting cruises and flights. 

AAA predicts more than 109 million Americans are expected to travel this holiday season even as cases of the omicron variant rise. 

The group predicts crowded roads and skies – a nearly 34% increase from last year of people traveling 50 miles or more – between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2, with air travel nearly tripling over 2020. 

NATIONWIDE THANKSGIVING GAS PRICES UP MORE THAN 60% FROM LAST YEAR, AAA SHOWS

AAA expects more than 100 million people to travel by automobile, 6.4 million by air and 2.9 million via bus, train or cruise.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
RCLROYAL CARIBBEAN GROUP78.14-1.32-1.66%
CCLCARNIVAL CORP.20.95-0.32-1.50%

This rebound will bring 2021 numbers to 92% of 2019 levels and airlines will see a 184% increase from last year.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
AALAMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP INC.18.30+0.04+0.19%
DALDELTA AIR LINES INC.39.15+0.02+0.05%
LUVSOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.41.31+0.20+0.49%
UALUNITED AIRLINES HOLDINGS INC.44.42-0.15-0.34%

"Americans who canceled their vacations in 2020 want to gather with family and friends for the holidays this year, although they will still be mindful of the pandemic and the new omicron variant," Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel, said in a statement. "With vaccines widely available, conditions are much different and many people feel a greater level of comfort with travel."

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Amazon, CVS Health and Walgreen's are rapidly selling at-home COVID-19 tests but are also limiting quantities per customer. 

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
AMZNAMAZON.COM INC.3,417.32-3.42-0.10%
CVSCVS HEALTH CORP.101.44+0.57+0.57%
WBAWALGREENS BOOTS ALLIANCE INC.50.84+0.43+0.85%

Ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, another AAA report found that more than 53.4 million people were expected to travel, marking the highest single-year increase since 2005.

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Of those tens of millions, the auto club predicted that 48.3 million would travel at least 50 miles from home by automobile – an increase of nearly 4 million over last year despite higher gasoline prices.

Clothing, accessories will be most popular holiday items: Gregg Smith

Founder of Evolution VC Partners, Gregg Smith, argues the ‘lackluster performance’ on Black Friday should not provide the landscape for the holiday shopping season given consumers are ‘spending money like mad.’ 

The AAA instructed anyone considering gathering or traveling for the holidays to consult Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, and AAA's COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map.

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"It’s essential to know requirements and recommendations based on your vaccination status, where you’re traveling from and your destination," it wrote. 

Masks are still required on planes buses, trains and other forms of U.S. public transportation and within transportation hubs.

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