Vacation plans start to return to pre-pandemic levels | Local News

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Jordyn White’s family traditionally has a fairly large gathering of around 50 to 60 people for Thanksgiving.

However, in 2020 those plans were changed for Washington & Jefferson College graduate school.

“Last year we had our whole family on Zoom,” White recalled. “We had already prepared our own individual meals and had Thanksgiving on Zoom.”

This year, it looks like there will be a return to White’s traditional family vacation gathering at his Elizabeth home.

“In my family, most of us are vaccinated,” White said. “Many of us meet at my house. We are trying to get back to the rhythm of our normal tradition of having the whole family to celebrate Thanksgiving together again. “

Canonsburg’s Paige Hoban didn’t have to change her family plans too much in 2020, and those plans have remained intact this year. Her in-laws have a condominium in Naples, Florida, and that’s where several of the family will meet.

“We really tried not to let our lives change as much as possible,” Hoban said of last year’s trip.

She added that the only plans that needed to be changed was where they would celebrate Thanksgiving. A hotel has had a party for the day in previous years. This is not the case this year, nor in 2020.

“They didn’t have it last year. It’s the only thing that has really changed, ”she said, adding that family members will be moving to another location this year.

Hoban said there were long lines at the airport this year and she flew on a crowded flight.

“We have TSA pre-checks so we can go to the front line,” she said. “The non-TSA pre-check line was really saved, and I haven’t seen that in a while.”

Masks were mandatory on the plane.

“It was very strict,” Hoban said. They said, ‘Unless you have food physically in your mouth or drink physically, you have to wear your mask. “”

After a 2020 holiday season where people may have stayed away from family and friends amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it looks like dating and travel is indeed back this year.

“I think everyone is looking forward to this vacation to reunite,” said Sandy Davis, owner of Davis Travel Agency in Monongahela. “There are people who travel for vacation.

Thanksgiving travel is expected to rebound to near pre-pandemic levels, according to AAA data.

AAA predicts that 53.4 million people will travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, up 13% from 2020. That brings travel volumes to less than 5% of pre-pandemic levels in 2019 as air travel recovers almost completely from its dramatic fall during the pandemic, up more than 80% from last year.

The opening of the U.S. borders to fully vaccinated travelers on November 8 will be a powerful contributor to this huge increase in air travel from 2020.

In Pennsylvania, AAA expects 6.5 million people to travel for the Thanksgiving vacation; 5.8 million of them are expected to drive to their vacation destination.

“The vast majority of them will be driving,” said Jim Garrity, director of public affairs for AAA. “For the vast majority, it will be over the river and through the woods. People pushed back Thanksgiving last year and they say, “I want to see my family or my friends.” There are a lot of people who say, “I’m getting back to it and I want to make more memories. “

For those who will be traveling by car, the AAA recommends motorists make sure their vehicles are road-ready to avoid a breakdown en route. AAA hopes to save over 400,000 roadside Americans for Thanksgiving.

Rising gas prices shouldn’t deter people. The car is the preferred mode of 90% of travelers, according to AAA.

Davis said there are some things people are still wary of as the pandemic continues.

“Cruise lines are not sailing yet,” she said, but added, “There are people who travel for vacation. They fly. The planes are full, from what I understand. There are a lot of beach vacations planned.

Carl Brandtonies, owner of Worldview Travel in Washington, said he has also seen an increase in the number of people planning to travel this year.

“Last year you really couldn’t travel – only inside the country,” he said. “People watch Disney Caribbean (Beach Resort), things like that. I haven’t had too many for Europe yet.

Brandtonies said he has received numerous inquiries from people wanting to know about COVID regulations for various potential destinations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting the vaccine to help minimize the risk of COVID-19.

Davis agreed, saying people can go back to their pre-pandemic vacation travel plans “as long as they’re vaccinated.”

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