Survey: Michiganders' confidence in traveling soars; 78% more comfortable now

(WWJ) -- As Michigan continues to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, a new AAA Travel survey shows Michiganders’ confidence in traveling is soaring.

The survey says 78% of Michiganders feel more comfortable traveling now than they did just three months ago, as more people are now vaccinated against the virus and more restrictions are lifted.

AAA has conducted quarterly travel surveys, with Michigan travelers’ confidence increasing each quarter. Under 40% of Michiganders said they felt comfortable traveling in the first three months of 2021, while that number rose to 45% in the second quarter.

That number skyrocketed to 72% this quarter. The biggest concern for travelers has been contracting COVID-19, but survey data shows that concern has dropped from 72% of respondents in Q1 to just 50% now.

The top reasons for Michiganders feeling more confident about traveling include receiving their COVID-19 vaccination (55%), more confident in safety measures being implemented (30%) and more knowledgeable about how the virus spreads (23%).

Nearly half of those who have been vaccinated or say they plan to be vaccinated, say the prospect of traveling was a motivating factor to do so.

Debbie Haas, Vice President of Travel for AAA, says the auto club group has seen a surge in travel demand as more Americans become vaccinated and feel confident in their ability to vacation safely.

“AAA travel advisors have been inundated with calls from people who want help navigating the growing options for travel,” Haas said. “Cruises and guided vacations are fully staffed and typically operating in 2021 with less than full capacity of guests, making a more intimate experience. In addition, these trips are largely inclusive of meals and activities, making it easier to choose a great value for travel in 2021. Our team members who are traveling this summer are having a great time.”

So now that Michiganders are more ready to start traveling again, where are they all headed?

AAA says 61% of Michiganders surveyed say they plan to take their next trip sometime between July and September, and most of them plan to head to a lake (30%) or beach (28%) destination.

The next top destinations include national and state parks (27%), a city or major metro destination (18%) and theme parks (17%).

While Michiganders have felt pretty comfortable using their own vehicles throughout the year, survey respondents have warmed back up to the car rental industry, with 66% saying they’re comfortable doing so now in the 3rd quarter -- up from 47% in Q1.

As for flying, the amount of Michiganders willing to take to the skies has nearly doubled from 27% to 51%, while nearly ¾ say they’re comfortable staying in a hotel.