AAA: More than half of Carolinians are uncomfortable traveling during the pandemic

Published 11:53 am Thursday, February 11, 2021

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

A new AAA travel survey, conducted in January, reveals that 64 percent of North Carolinians and 59 percent of South Carolinians are uncomfortable traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic. The main concerns are:

Fears of getting sick (60% – NC) (67% – SC)
New strains of the virus (58% – NC) (63% – SC)
The number of COVID-19 cases (68% – NC) (58% – SC)

The travel industry has been hit hard by this pandemic. Nearly two-thirds of North Carolinians (63%) and South Carolinians (60%) cancelled or rescheduled travel plans in 2020. Currently, nearly half (40%) of North Carolinians and half (50%) of South Carolinians are comfortable staying in a hotel, while only 23% of North Carolinians and 25% of South Carolinians feel comfortable taking a commercial flight. The majority (82%) of North Carolinians and (89%) of South Carolinians feel most comfortable traveling in their personal vehicle.

With more known about the virus and how it spreads, there appears to be growing confidence among some travelers. Nearly a quarter (18%) of North Carolinians and (20%) of South Carolinians say they are more comfortable traveling now than when the pandemic began – 15 combined percentage points more than when we last surveyed in October. Their growing confidence was attributed to:
Implementation of mask use and cleaning policies (39% – NC) (47% – SC)
More knowledge about how the virus spreads (28% – NC) (38% – SC)
Quarantine fatigue/wanting to get out of the house (27% – NC) (31% – SC)

This year, 54% of North Carolinians and 58% of South Carolinians plan to take at least one vacation of 3 days or more. Additionally, about 2 in 5 residents say they will feel more comfortable traveling after receiving both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine (40% – NC) (38% – SC) and when cases begin to decrease (45% – NC) (38% – SC).

“The Covid-19 vaccine is essential to restoring Americans’ confidence in traveling again,” said Tiffany Wright, spokesperson, AAA – The Auto Club Group in the Carolinas. “With health experts predicting widespread vaccinations by the summer, AAA Travel Advisors are seeing growing interest in travel bookings for the second half of the year.”

Additional survey highlights:

(83% – NC and SC) will wear a mask in public while traveling

(39% – NC) (38% – SC) are more likely to visit a destination with a mask mandate

(52% – NC) (49% – SC) are driving less due to the pandemic

(37% – NC and SC) are more likely to purchase travel insurance than before the pandemic

(76% – NC and SC) will not travel in Q1 / (50% – NC) (53% – SC) cite the pandemic as a reason why

About the AAA Consumer Pulse Survey

The AAA Consumer Pulse Survey was conducted online among residents living in North and South Carolina from Jan. 15 – 24, 2021. A total of 400 residents in each state completed the survey. State results asked of all respondents have a maximum margin of error of ± 4.9% points. Responses are weighted by age and gender to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the adult population (18+) in North and South Carolina.

About AAA – The Auto Club Group

The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America with more than 14 million members across 14 U.S. states, the province of Quebec and two U.S. territories. ACG and its affiliates provide members with roadside assistance, insurance products, banking and financial services, travel offerings and more. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 60 million members in the United States and Canada. AAA’s mission is to protect and advance freedom of mobility and improve traffic safety. For more information, get the AAA Mobile app, visit, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.