Americans who had their travel plans dashed in 2020 are making up for lost times, with over 109 million people expected to travel over the holidays.
The AAA predicts there will be overcrowded roads and skies this year, with air travel nearly tripling over 2020 figures.
109 Million Americans to Travel During Holiday Season
INRIX, specialists in connected car services and transportation analytics, worked in collaboration with AAA to forecast there will be marginal delays overall over the holiday weeks. However, major cities could see more than double the delays compared to typical drive times, with drivers in New York likely to experience delays three times longer than what they normally are.
Important Insight for Small Businesses
The data provides important information to small businesses which could be affected by the Christmas travel rush.
Businesses that rely on deliveries or have fleets or vehicles on the road, or perhaps are involved in air travel, should plan well in advance, and prepare for some delays. Being aware of the expected travel volume means small business owners can put contingency planning in place.
Such planning could be related to deliveries and warning customers of potential delays and putting realistic delivery dates on products. Another strategy could be to set up virtual meetings instead on in-person ones, so that the need to travel, and therefore potential delays, is avoided.
Company fleets may want to set off earlier then expected to reach their destinations on time in light of the heavy volume of traffic on the roads. Drivers may want to drive through the night to avoid the daytime rush on the roads.
Planning Travel Around Busy Areas
Another wise precaution would to be to find out where delays are and avoiding venturing near particularly busy areas.
As Bob Pishue, a transportation analyst at INRIX, advises: “With kids out of school and many Americans taking extended time off for the holidays, drivers will experience incremental delays throughout the week. Although congestion will be overall lighter than normal, knowing when and where major delays will likely happen will help save time and reduce stress this holiday season.”
AAA’s research shows that road trips remain the top choice of travel this holiday season, with more than 100 million people planning to reach their destination by car. This is despite the cost of gas being $1.25 per gallon more than a year ago.
Plane travel is also looking popular this year, with more than 6 million expected to travel by air. Three million are booking buses, trains, and cruises over the holiday season.
With so many people travelling, small businesses would also be wise to book their tickets earlier rather than later to avoid disappointment and losing credibility and reputation by showing up to meeting and events late, or, worse still, not at all.