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On the road again—or not—this holiday weekend

87% of Americans are planning to stay home or local for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, a new survey finds.


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July Fourth will have a decidedly different feel this year as 87% of Americans are planning to stay local, according to a new survey by FinanceBuzz.

Because July Fourth is traditionally a big travel holiday, respondents were asked how likely they were to go on road trips and RV and camping trips compared to last year.

The survey also found that 69% of Americans plan to take fewer road trips than last summer or none at all. When they do hit the road, they’ll stay local—25% won’t venture more than two hours away from home, FinanceBuzz said.

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While many people are choosing not to travel due to health concerns, it’s likely that many families are also concerned about their finances, the company said. “Coronavirus-related business closures have left millions without jobs or with reduced income. This is causing a savings-focused mindset that might lead many families to avoid unnecessary spending. Even the low price of gas isn’t enough to get Americans traveling.”

For those who do decide to travel this summer, likely road trip destinations include the lake (39%), the beach (39%), and a family member’s home (36%).

The survey also found that 38% of prospective recreational vehicle users have never driven an RV before.

“As a full-time RVer, I see why RV interest is on the rise as we begin recovery from COVID-19,” said Becca Borawski Jenkins, senior editor at FinanceBuzz. “Travel has decreased substantially but people don’t necessarily want to stay home. You do have to think about how you can move safely during a pandemic, though.”
More than half (53%) of respondents are looking to RVs so that they can avoid flying and 47% to avoid hotels, according to Borawski Jenkins. Another perk is that RVers can avoid having to use public restrooms, she said.

“Our findings also highlight that there are business opportunities for entrepreneurs to provide the ‘glamping’ experience,” Borawski Jenkins said. “People are avoiding hotels, but they still want amenities.”

Further, there might also be many new campers this summer, as the FinanceBuzz survey found that 38% of Americans plan to camp the same amount as last summer or more, and 87% of prospective campers plan to buy new equipment, the survey found.

That’s good news for sporting goods retailers, which can still rely on seeing a surge in summer sales, she noted. Among the new equipment respondents are planning to purchase: A tent (52%), safety/first aid items (52%) cooking equipment (45%), bedding or mattress (41%) and fishing or hunting gear (37%).

However, expect state and national parks to be crowded. The survey found that 47% of campers plan to stay at a state park, and 41% expect to camp at a national park.

COVID-19 is also changing how people will prepare and pack for road trips this summer.

Nearly 74% said they will pack both hand sanitizer and face masks, as well as disinfecting wipes (64%), extra food to avoid stops (50%) and a thermometer (33%).

Given that many states are seeing a resurgence in coronavirus cases, the fact that so many Americans are hunkering down for the Fourth of July holiday “will frankly, provide some relief that people are committed to flattening the curve,” Borawski Jenkins said.

“We saw many people spend Memorial Day Weekend in groups and in public places, and we’re still seeing those effects around the country. With the majority of Americans staying home for the July 4th weekend, it provides hope that we’re making the right step toward recovery.” 

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