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posted on November 16, 2020

Survey shows lingering apprehensions about flying

For many of us, 2020 has been a year spent adjusting how we socialize, work, shop, and especially how we travel. Of course, the holiday season is typically one of the busiest times of the year for travel, and although many are eager to spend time with their loved ones, the coronavirus is still heavily impacting how we plan our celebrations.

To check in on how people are thinking about travel this holiday season, we recently surveyed over 730 guests who’ve used Turo in the last year. While many are eager to explore and see their family and friends as they normally would, less than half of all respondents are sticking to their usual holiday plans.

Road trips still reign

Overall, we found that most people still intend to travel over the holiday season. 80% of those who responded to the survey said they’re planning on hitting the road before the year’s over. But when evaluating travel during the pandemic, most (81%) say their primary consideration is the health and safety of themselves and their families, especially when it comes to the mode of transportation — almost half (46%) of those surveyed said they’re altering their method of travel because of the coronavirus.

To satisfy their cravings for exploration and freedom, travelers fully embraced car travel this last summer, sparking a sort of road trip renaissance. People around the country turned towards using private cars or car sharing to make their wayfaring more controllable and containable, and it seems those apprehensions that inspired “the summer of the road trip” haven’t gone away. Two thirds of travelers (67%) say they’ll drive instead of fly this holiday season, opting for road trips to see family or friends or simply to have a relaxing getaway.

We ran a similar survey back in June, when shelter-in-place ordinances and general uncertainty were more heavily in effect. Since then, people’s preference for traveling by car has not abated — in fact, more people are willing to drive longer distances now. The number of respondents willing to drive five or more hours instead of taking a plane has gone up from 46% in June to 53% in October (and a whopping 23% now say they would drive 10+ hours!).

For some, the pandemic has actually given more reason to travel over the holidays. 21% of respondents said they normally stay local during the holidays, but are going to travel this year. Of those people, almost half said they’re hitting the road for a much-needed change of scenery, and 27% are traveling because costs have become more affordable.

Meeting the increased appetite for car sharing

Although the global health climate remains uncertain, people are finding ways to meet their needs for exploration. The team has been working hard to help supply the increased demand for car travel and car sharing, and we’re pleased to announce a new partnership with leading travel search engine KAYAK, that’ll put vehicles from the Turo marketplace in front of new audiences.

This is another indication of the momentum car travel has gained with travelers this year — Turo is now the first peer-to-peer car sharing platform with vehicles to appear in KAYAK search results in the US. The team is excited to expand the reach of the marketplace and provide more options for responsible travelers looking to travel by car this holiday season.

Though 2020 has certainly been a challenging year for society at large, the spirit of adventure endures, pushing us to stay positive and find creative ways to stay engaged and keep exploring. For those who are able, mindfully reconnecting with loved ones for the winter holidays will make for a rejuvenating time spent together, whether virtually or in-person. Here’s to a happy holiday season, and safe travels!