Road trip! Despite pandemic, Americans plan to travel for Labor Day, but most are driving

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Dalvin Brown, USA TODAY
Published 11:27 a.m. ET Sept. 5, 2020 | Updated 12:27 p.m. ET Sept. 5, 2020

Labor Day has a deeper meaning than an end to summer and marks a pivotal moment in U.S. labor history, including a violent start.

USA TODAY

Despite the pandemic, Americans are planning to still travel this Labor Day weekend. But forget mass transportation like catching flights and taking buses. Most say they’re planning to drive.

A national survey from Cars.com found 60% of Americans plan to travel over the three-day weekend, nearly double the 34% who planned to travel in a survey before Memorial Day. 

Most of them — 88% — say they plan to take a car, and more people plan to travel further than they did on Memorial Day weekend, the survey found. Most of those traveling plan to visit family members, while 36% will go to the beach and 22% are checking out another state or a national park to celebrate the holiday. 

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The Cars.com data aligns with a forecast from the AAA. The automotive agency projected in June that car trips would reign supreme for summer travel, accounting for 97% of the favored mode of transportation amid the coronavirus crisis.

“We have tracked consumer sentiment about car buying and travel habits during the pandemic for months now — and our findings continue to show that more and more people are turning to car ownership because of the safety and freedom it provides,” said Kelsey Mays, senior consumer affairs editor at Cars.com, in a statement. 

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Airlines, trains and buses tend to be more congested, so using these modes of transportation risks going against health agency guidelines to practice social distancing when possible. 

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Road trip! Despite pandemic, Americans plan to travel for Labor Day, but most are driving

Cars.com has released a list of the top car deals for those on the hunt for a new vehicle over the Labor Day weekend. The classified car site says the
2020 Kia Optima offers $3,000 off with another $2,000 for specially tagged sedans, since the brand is replacing it with the all-new K5 in 2021.  KIAFullscreen

Road trip! Despite pandemic, Americans plan to travel for Labor Day, but most are driving

The 2020 Hyundai Kona offers $3,000 off for Labor Day weekend, Cars.com says.  Courtesy of Hyundai USAFullscreen

Road trip! Despite pandemic, Americans plan to travel for Labor Day, but most are driving

Cars.com says the 2020 Kia Soul offers $2,000 off, plus another $1,000 on specially tagged inventory.
  KiaFullscreen

Road trip! Despite pandemic, Americans plan to travel for Labor Day, but most are driving

The 2020 Nissan Murano offers $4,000 off, plus another $1,000 for the SL or Platinum trims, Cars.com says.  Courtesy of NissanFullscreen

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The ongoing pandemic may also be motivating some in-market car buyers to shop sooner than they had planned. 

The Cars.com study found virus concerns are motivating more than 51% of those on the hunt for a new car this holiday weekend, earlier than they originally planned.

Most of them want sedans. 

Searches for sedans on Cars.com ticked 14 points higher than the growth in overall search activity from April to June of 2020, the classified website said. 

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