Over the past six months, during which the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted nearly every aspect of our lives, Americans have had to find new ways to cope with stress, burnout and cabin fever.
A combination of factors—including the challenges of social distancing, quarantine, closures or limited capacities of indoor venues and a fear of air travel—has prompted a resurgence in road trips and a shift toward viewing automobiles as the travel mode of choice.
Leading up to Labor Day—traditionally one of the nation’s busiest weekends for travel and road-tripping—Chevrolet partnered with The Harris Poll to conduct a survey of over 1,000 American adults in order to discover how they’ve spent their time on the road since the pandemic capsized our collective sense of normalcy.
The study found that nearly 80 percent of Americans credited road trips with helping them to stay sane in the current conditions. In fact, 80 percent of road-trippers also reported taking a road trip ended up producing “one of their happiest moments” since all of this began back in March.
Close to three-quarters of respondents said that they place a higher value on road trips today than they did prior to the pandemic. They’ve since looked to their vehicles to supply much-needed escapes from their homes, where many people have been forced to spend most of their working and leisure time for nearly half a year. Of those surveyed, 89 percent said their car provided means to get out of the house safely and experience a much-needed change of scenery.
Faced with the closure or questionable safety conditions of their usual haunts, Americans have been rediscovering outdoor destinations and activities. Forty-three percent of road-trippers in Chevrolet’s survey reported having a greater appreciation for the outdoors, and 38 percent said the same about domestic travel. Fifty-six percent said that they now consider their automobile to be “part of the family.”
— 20 percent had visited a national park for the very first time.
— More than ten percent of road-tripping Americans went camping for the first time.
— 41 percent drove to someplace they’d never been before.
— The top outdoor road-trip destinations and activities were beaches (41 percent), hiking (31 percent), fishing (29 percent) and visiting national parks (27 percent).
And, the survey findings showed that road trips’ popularity continues to grow, with respondents reporting more road trips planned through the end of the year. Among those who said they’ll be road-tripping before the close of 2020, 41 percent said they plan to do so over Thanksgiving or the winter holiday season.
Chevrolet also touted its all-new 2021 Tahoe and Suburban model SUVs, which Chevrolet Trucks Marketing Director Bob Krapes said, “have been completely redesigned to offer more space, comfort and technology to make road trips enjoyable and memorable.” He commented, “The open roads are a welcome change, and for decades, many Americans have embraced the outdoors with the Tahoe and Suburban as the ultimate road trip vehicles. This desire to pack up family and cargo and get out is part of these iconic SUVs’ DNA.”
The survey did reveal that 53 percent of Americans think that more cargo room would improve their road-trip experience; roughly 33 percent agreed that a rear-seat media system would enhance their trip, and over half cited the importance of advanced safety features in providing peace-of-mind and an overall enjoyable road trip.
For more information, visit chevrolet.com.
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