Nearly Half of Americans Plan to Travel for Thanksgiving, 72% by Car Survey Finds Holiday Travelers Avoiding Big Cities This Year

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, Nov. 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The latest research from (NYSE: CARS), a leading digital automotive marketplace and solutions provider, found nearly half of Americans (47%) plan to travel for Thanksgiving this year, which is down 21 percentage points from 2019. Of those not traveling, more than half (59%) said COVID-19 impacted their plans. The majority of Thanksgiving travelers (72%) will travel by car to their destination, with most trips happening close to home.1

“We’ve been watching consumer travel habits since the onset of the pandemic, and there have been two consistent themes — the pandemic is obviously affecting people’s travel plans, but when people do travel, the majority drive by car because of the safety and freedom cars provide. We are seeing these themes continue for holiday travel this year,” said Jenni Newman, editor-in-chief.

2020 Thanksgiving Travel Trends, According to

  • COVID-19 continues to affect travel plans. While 47% of Americans still plan to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, it is down from 68% in 2019. Of the 41% not traveling, 59% stated that COVID-19 had some impact on their decision. Eleven percent have not yet decided if they will travel.
  • Major cities are hit the hardest. The majority of travelers (44%) are avoiding large cities, likely because those areas are harder hit by COVID-19.
  • The car is the main driver to Thanksgiving dinner. The car continues to dominate pandemic transportation with 72% of travelers planning to drive, and most (66%) intending to stay within 100 miles of home.
  • Traffic congestion peaks the weekend before Thanksgiving. While travel is down, expect the highest congestion the weekend before (37%), followed by the day before Thanksgiving (13%) and Thanksgiving Day (19%). As it gets closer to Thanksgiving, the local hours between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. are expected to be the busiest for travel Nov. 25 and 26.

“While personal vehicles present a safer option for holiday travel, it’s important for drivers and their passengers to stay vigilant and follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and local COVID-19 rules and restrictions,” said Newman.

For more information, visit

1 Holiday Travel Survey Oct. 22-Oct. 25, 2020; 1,008 responses

About CARS
CARS is a leading digital marketplace and solutions provider for the automotive industry that connects car shoppers with sellers. Launched in 1998 with the flagship marketplace and headquartered in Chicago, the Company empowers shoppers with the data, resources and digital tools needed to make informed buying decisions and seamlessly connect with automotive retailers. In a rapidly changing market, CARS enables dealerships and OEMs with innovative technical solutions and data-driven intelligence to better reach and influence ready-to-buy shoppers, increase inventory turn and gain market share.

In addition to, CARS companies include Dealer Inspire, a technology provider building solutions that future-proof dealerships with more efficient operations and connected digital experiences, FUEL, which gives dealers and OEMs the opportunity to harness the untapped power of digital video by leveraging’s pure audience of in-market car shoppers, and DealerRater, a leading car dealer review and reputation management platform.

The full suite of CARS properties include™, Dealer Inspire®, DealerRater®, FUEL™,™,™ and®. For more information, visit


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