The COVID-19 pandemic can be very confusing for travelers. As Tennesseans look to Labor Day and the upcoming autumn and holiday seasons, many are still questioning how the pandemic will affect the various elements of their trip.
In addition to its expert team of travel advisors who are able to help travelers make their travel plans with confidence, AAA has also rolled out a variety of free resources to give travelers some peace-of-mind.
“Labor Day is typically the last big hurrah for the summer travel season,” said Megan Cooper, spokesperson, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “With students back in school, the majority of travelers are most likely to take up to a 3-day road trip. We encourage travelers to take advantage of these free resources as they develop their travel plans.”
COVID-19 Travel Resources
- AAA’s Covid-19 Travel Restrictions Map provides updated COVID-related travel restrictions, checkpoints and closures.
- AAA TripTiks help map your route and locate open gas stations, hotels, restaurants, campgrounds, auto repair facilities, attractions and more.
- AAA Mobile App is free to download for “on the go” access to all the resources listed above including COVID-19 travel restrictions.
- AAA’s Best of Housekeeping highlights AAA Diamond designated hotels that are recognized for implementing the highest cleaning standards.
Road Trip Tips
- Prep your vehicle. Visit a AAA Approved Auto Repair Facility to ensure your vehicle is road-trip ready. Some vehicles may have sat unused for months and should be inspected.
- Plan stops. Destinations and businesses may have adjusted their hours of operation.
- Pack cleaning supplies and face coverings. Some regions have ordinances requiring the use of masks.
- Pack food and water. This could reduce the number of times you need to go to the store.
- Pull out of the traffic lanes if your car breaks down. If faced with a vehicle emergency, safely steer your car off the roadway. Turn on the emergency flashers to alert other drivers and exit the vehicle on the side facing away from traffic if possible. Once everyone is in a safe location, request assistance from a road service provider.
Staying in a Hotel
- Call ahead. Ask about any restrictions or changes to amenities and the check-in process. Inquire about their cleaning protocols.
- Understand cancellation policies. Hotel cancellation policies can vary based on when you booked, what site you used, and whether the booking was for a special rate.
- Bring cleaning supplies. While many hoteliers are implementing enhanced cleaning protocols, personally sanitizing high-touch areas may provide additional peace-of-mind.
Stop the Spread of Unsafe Driving
“Preparation is paramount for people planning to travel during this pandemic,” Cooper said. “But it’s not just about protecting yourself from the virus. With an influx of drivers expected for Labor Day weekend, it’s also critical that travelers make safe decisions while behind the wheel. Please be sure to buckle up, slow down, and avoid distracted and impaired driving. These are simple steps to reduce the most common fatal accidents.”
According to national figures from NHTSA:
- Alcohol impaired driving accounts for just under one-third of all traffic fatalities
- AAA says: arrange for a safe ride home before your first drink
- Speeding typically accounts for one-third of all traffic fatalities
- AAA says: Adhere to speed limits, leave early so you’re not in a hurry, reduce your speed for bad weather or other hazardous road conditions
- Distraction is responsible for nine percent of fatal crashes
- AAA says: Drivers are 8x more likely to crash when texting; 4x more likely to crash when talking on a cellphone. Put your phone down, program your GPS before driving, and secure loose items in the car.
- Seat Belts save lives. Nearly half (47%) of people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2017 were not wearing their seat belts.
- AAA says: Ensure the driver and all passengers buckle-up; this includes children. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for all children. The safest place for children under 12 is in the back seat. Click here for recommendations for what type of seats are best for kids.
Labor Day Gas Prices
Low gas prices continue to make road trips an affordable option for travelers. It appears that drivers will pay the lowest Labor Day gas prices in four years. The national average price for gasoline is $2.23 per gallon. That’s 35 cents per gallon less than what drivers paid on Labor Day 2019 ($2.58).
In Tennessee, the average price for gasoline is $1.99 per gallon. That’s 28 cents per gallon less than this time last year. Tennesseans are likely to see the lowest gas prices for Labor Day in 16 years.
The fuel supply chain was mostly unaffected by Hurricane Laura. Gasoline futures and wholesale prices have also drifted lower since the storm passed. While it is possible drivers could see an uptick at the pump in the coming days, gas prices are forecast to remain lower than last year, because of the pandemic’s limiting effect on fuel demand.