Now that Covid-19 restrictions and concerns have waned, summer travel is making a comeback. According to the U.S. Travel Association, 72 percent of Americans plan to take at least one road trip this summer, double the number of people who took road trips last year.
Last summer, when Americans were still following strict lockdown measures, seventy-two percent of Americans didn’t take a summer vacation at all, according to Forbes.
But now, more than half of Americans have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, and the Centers for Disease Control announced that fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks or social distance in any setting, except when required by local or federal laws. Both developments have eased travelers’ pandemic-related fears.
“With the [coronavirus] vaccine rollout, people have a lot of pent-up travel enthusiasm,” Cindy Rousseau, retail office manager for AAA stores in Perrysburg Township and Toledo, told Toledo Blade.
A road trip gives Americans the chance to ease into traveling again.
“America is ready to travel,” said Michele Pierog, CSO of mobility company ParkMyFleet. “The family road trip is a nostalgic re-entrance into adventures for families.
But travelers who don’t own their own vehicles may have a difficult time securing a rental car this summer, due to a severe shortage.
At the start of the pandemic, when travel rates plummeted, rental car companies sold off their fleets to remain afloat. But once demand went up, those companies weren’t able to restock because of a pandemic-related shortage that slowed car manufacturing.
The shortage is affecting states across the nation. In Florida, 18 rental companies stationed at airports completely sold out of cars over Presidents’ Weekend in February, Jonathan Weinberg, CEO of AutoSlash.com, a website that pairs customers with car rental deals, told CBS Pittsburgh.
Prices are soaring as a result. Rental car prices are two to three times higher than pre-pandemic levels, according to Weinberg.
“I’ve been in the industry for 11 years and this is the first time that I’ve seen anything even remotely close to this,” Weinberg told CBS Pittsburgh.