Spokesman Mark Peterson says the coronavirus pandemic is a key influencer in how comfortable people feel about traveling between now and the end of the year. “Nearly two-thirds of our travelers, about 64%, are concerned about traveling in the holiday season due to the pandemic, however, confidence is improving,” Peterson says. “Nearly half say they’re comfortable traveling now, compared to this time last year when the pandemic was just beginning.”
Still, only about one in five Iowans surveyed said they plan to travel during the holidays this year, that’s down about 40% from a year ago. The busiest travel holiday of the year is just less than a month away, well, in a typical year. “Thanksgiving is the big family one,” Peterson says. “People have a tendency to travel over that four- or five-day break and Thanksgiving is probably a little more family-oriented. We might get some more traveling but just not as much as last year.”
In the short-term, the survey found about one in ten Iowans say they will not be doing any traveling over the next week because of the presidential election. “People want to make sure that they vote and this, obviously, means it’s the people that want to do it in person,” Peterson says. “Obviously, they can take care of it through the mail but a lot of people like to walk in that door, go up there and do it the old-fashioned way and that has an influence for some people.”
The majority of Iowans (79%) say they are most comfortable traveling in their personal vehicle, which provides more personal control over cleanliness and social distancing. The survey found 64% of Iowans are still uncomfortable taking a commercial flight, though a federal study says the risk of contracting the virus on an airplane is minimal.