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Thanksgiving travel expected to dip


BOISE, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - The AAA is projecting that Thanksgiving travel will be down to the lowest point since the Great Recession.

The auto club believes travel numbers will be down by at least 10% due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

50 million Americans would have been expected to make a holiday trip, based on mid-October data, including 266,000 Idahoans. But, the recent rise in new cases means the actual number of travelers could be substantially lower.

“Conditions are changing rapidly, so we would expect most Thanksgiving travel this year to involve shorter distances and the flexibility that you get with a last-minute road trip,” says Matthew Conde, public affairs director for AAA Idaho. “A common theme will be ‘wait and see,’ but some people who have been separated from family for months will decide that this is the time to get together.”

Like the Centers for Disease Control, the AAA is advising that staying home and avoiding large-group gatherings is the best way to prevent the spread of sickness.

For those who do plan to travel on the road, AAA suggests planning meals and rest breaks ahead of time. Prepare an emergency kit and check weather and trafffic conditions.

“You’re going to win half the battle by completing a pre-trip inspection of your vehicle,” Conde explained. “Make sure your tires, battery and engine are roadworthy, and that your windshield wipers are doing the job without skipping or streaking. And whether you’re going across the country or around the block, this is the right time of year to refresh your emergency kit.”

AAA advises air travelers that airports may not be as crowded as usual, but security will still be an ordeal. Some locations are checking passenger temperatues and reviewing COVID-19 results.

And, at the hotel, the club advises people to check out refund and clean policies and pool, spa, and fitness center restrictions. And, AAA suggests using disinfectant wipes to clean high-touch areas like remote controls, doorknobs, faucets, telephones, and light switches.

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