Cars.com Pent-Up Demand Spikes Spring Break Travel: 70% of Travelers Opt for Road Trips as Americans’ Vacation Plans Surpass Pre-Pandemic Levels

Allison.Phelps

Lot Lizard
Feb 8, 2021
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Allison
As the pandemic continues, Americans are ready to hit the road for spring break. According to Cars.com's latest research, 57% of Americans plan to take a trip this spring, up from 32% in 2020 and 54% in 2019. Importantly, 70% of spring breakers are opting to drive to their destinations.

A persistent trend since the start of the pandemic, Americans are relying on their cars as a safe form of transportation and a much-needed escape from the confines of their home. More than 40% of spring break road trippers say their main reason for travel is they ”have to get out of my house.”

“Many Americans are ready for a much-needed change of scenery after a year at home. Spring break travel in 2020 fell 22 percentage points versus 2019, and now we clearly see that pent-up demand for travel as this year’s numbers outpace pre-pandemic travel levels,” said Kelsey Mays, Cars.com assistant managing editor. “It’s no surprise that we continue to see Americans prioritize cars as their primary mode of transportation amid ongoing concerns of social distancing during these times. With national vaccination efforts underway, Americans are ready to grasp some sense of normalcy and hit the open road.”

However, travelers know the pandemic is not over, as 53% of spring break travelers surveyed expressed concern about COVID-19 exposure while traveling. And of the 26% of people choosing not to travel, 60% state the pandemic as the main reason.

With Americans driving more often and for longer distances, Cars.com found an increased desire for additional comfort and safety features in shoppers’ vehicle searches. Cars.com searches for “sunroofs” and “moonroofs” increased 8% year-over-year, while tech features like “blind spot monitoring” saw a 12% increase in searches year-over-year. Additionally, “LED headlights” were up almost 20% year-over-year.2

“The CDC is recommending people don’t travel this spring break, but if you must travel we recommend you follow CDC guidelines for safely hitting the road,” Mays said. “Do your research, be prepared with masks and hand sanitizer, and plan out your stops. Take it a step further and pack meals and snacks to limit road breaks and avoid crowds.”

1 Cars.com’s survey results Feb. 26, 2021; 1,017 responses

2 Cars.com internal data
 

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