Thanksgiving to test strength of travel advisory in Oregon

Thanksgiving travel is expected to decline this year, but the holiday will still test if Oregonians are willing to follow the state's new travel advisory.

Posted: Nov 13, 2020 4:00 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Thanksgiving travel is expected to decline this year, but the holiday will still test Oregonians' willingness to follow the state's new travel advisory.

Governors from Oregon, Washington and California issued advisories Friday, asking travelers who are entering from out of state or returning from nonessential interstate trips to quarantine for 14 days.


AAA Oregon Idaho was expecting 742,000 Oregonians to travel for the holiday this year, a 10% decline from 2019, and the lowest number since 2008 and the great recession.

That estimate was based on a survey from October but those numbers may now be lower due to increasing cases and the new restrictions.

"I would imagine that a lot of people will make the decision to stay at home after seeing cases continue to spike and hearing some of the advice and restrictions that are laid out," said Marie Dodds with AAA.

Despite the decrease in travel overall, those who do make a Thanksgiving trip will largely be driving, with a decline in air travel. That means that roads may still be busy for the holiday. Additionally, Dodds expects that travelers will largely be looking to stay in-state, looking for destinations that are easily drivable.

"In Oregon, the top destinations are, as you would expect, central Oregon, Oregon Coast and parts of Central and eastern Oregon. So those are the big destinations. During a normal year during Thanksgiving, we would talk about people going to Disneyland and Vegas," she said.

Many travelers are expected to make last-minute decisions on whether or not to travel, according to Dodds. Still, some may decide to travel out of state, despite the advisory.

"Most of them are voluntary. For example, 'Government and health officials are asking people to do or not do some things.' So these are not mandated in most cases. But it's all about safety."

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