Hankook Survey: Americans Are Planning Holiday Road Trips

Oct. 27, 2020

Hankook Tire America Corp.'s latest survey of American drivers shows most still plan to travel for the holidays, and most of those travelers plan to drive in light of anxiety about COVID-19.

The latest Hankook Tire Gauge Index shows 74% plan to travel, and of those, 78% will go by car due to safety concerns.

Many travelers also are planning around some form of quarantine. The majority of travelers — 70% — plan to quarantine in some way upon returning home, while 64% plan to do so leading up to their trip and then again once they arrive at their destination (61%). Americans also are adjusting when they travel, with three out of four travelers planning to travel early to avoid typical peak travel times.

“As with so much this year, it’s difficult to predict exactly how holiday travel will pan out, but our latest survey finds that the rules of the road are changing for the holidays,” says Peter Jung, senior vice president and chief operating officer at Hankook. “More people will hit the road this year as a way to see family and friends. To stay safe, they’re modifying plans to beat the traffic and allow time to quarantine. At the same time, home for the holidays is taking on new meaning as more Americans plan to stay closer to home.”

Driving trends

With about one in four opting to stay home for the holidays this year — up from 9% prior to the onset of COVID-19 — the Hankook survey shows more Americans are returning to more normal daily driving patterns.

  • Currently 60% of Americans are driving daily, compared to April when only 20% hit the road every day. Road trips are a significant part of that increase.
  • Nearly three-quarters (72%) of those surveyed said they have taken a road trip since the onset of the pandemic, either out of necessity or for leisure.
  • Road trips are also rising in popularity compared to air travel, as Americans say they're twice as comfortable traveling long distances by car (46%) than by plane (24%).
  • There's a definite generational divide among those road trippers, though. The survey found 93% of millennials have already taken a road trip this year. But the majority of baby boomers (54%) and those older than the baby boomers (70%) said they're not comfortable traveling long distance, no matter the form of transportation.

“The Gauge revealed signs of daily driving returning to a more normal cadence, but even still, there is uncertainty about hitting the road,” Jung said.

The latest Hankook Tire Gauge Index was conducted Sept. 24-27, 2020, and included a poll of 1,044 randomly selected Americans at least 18 years old who have a valid U.S. driver’s license.