Most Americans Staying Close to Home for the Holidays

November 10, 2020

Urgently’s Annual Holiday Travel Intentions 2020 Survey reveals 80.3% plan to travel 100 miles or less for Thanksgiving, with 54.8% using their own cars for the customary over-the-river, through-the-woods journey.

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If you’ve changed your 2020 holiday travel plans due to the pandemic, you are not alone. According to our just-released Annual Holiday Travel Intentions 2020 Survey, nearly half of Americans have reported the pandemic has caused them to change their 2020 holiday travel plans.


According to the survey, 47% of respondents have changed Thanksgiving travel plans, while 43.7% have changed travel plans for the December holidays. Some respondents are still assessing their holiday travel plans: 8.6% have yet to decide on Thanksgiving and 12.1% are undecided about the December holidays. 



Most Americans plan to stay close to home for the holidays, as 80.3% say they plan to travel 100 miles or less for Thanksgiving, 42.8% of whom will travel zero miles for the November holiday. Findings are similar for the December holidays, with 77.0% traveling 100 miles or less, 40.4% of whom will remain home entirely. 



Holiday Transportation Choices


Among those traveling for the holidays, more than half will use their own cars for the customary over-the-river, through-the-woods journey. Thanksgiving 2020 transportation choices include:

  • 54.8% will use their own car
  • 5.9% will rent a vehicle
  • 3.0% will use an RV
  • 2.7% will fly
  • 1.3% will use a ride hail service
  • 1.2% will travel via railway


Transportation choices for the December holidays are similar to those for Thanksgiving:

  • 57.5% will use their own car
  • 6.2% will rent a vehicle
  • 1.9% will use an RV
  • 3.7% will fly
  • 2.3% will use a ride hail service
  • 1.5% will travel via railway 



Length of Stay


More than half of those traveling for the 2020 holidays will be day-tripping only, with 58.2% having no overnight plans for Thanksgiving, and 56.7% opting out of overnight stays for the December holidays.


Home for the Holidays


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending that families celebrate virtually or with members of their own household to lessen the risk of spread this holiday season. It appears many Americans are considering this advice, as nearly half of those surveyed say they plan to celebrate at home with household family members only. 


For Thanksgiving:

  • 46.5% will celebrate at home with household family members only (no guests)  
  • 24.4% will celebrate at another family member’s home
  • 18.6% will celebrate at home with household family members and guests
  • 5.0% will celebrate at a friend’s home
  • 2.2% will celebrate on vacation


For the December holidays:

  • 45.9% will celebrate at home with household family members only (no guests): 
  • 25.2% will celebrate at another family member’s home
  • 17.1% will celebrate at home with household family members and guests: 
  • 5.5% will celebrate at a friend’s home
  • 3.6% will celebrate on vacation


“Like most everything in 2020, we expect holiday travel to be different compared with years past,” said Chris Spanos, CEO and co-founder of Urgently. “As a majority of holiday travelers will be on the roads, Urgently will be tracking traffic volumes and mobility data throughout the holiday season to ensure our network is prepared to help stranded motorists get to their celebrations as quickly, painlessly and safely as possible.” 


About the Survey

Urgently’s Holiday Travel Intentions 2020 Survey of 778 U.S. drivers, aged 18 and over, was conducted online on October 30, 2020, to measure travel intentions for this year’s Thanksgiving and December holidays. 

Main Image Credit: Photo by JillWellington via Pixabay