For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, Transportation Security Administration screenings have officially topped one million passengers.

TSA reached the million mark on Oct. 18, which is less than 40% of 2019 levels, but still a welcome sign.

This happened more than a month before Thanksgiving and the December holidays, so it indicates people feel more comfortable traveling again.

As they typically would, Americans want to spend the holidays with loved ones even amid the ongoing pandemic conditions.

The travel industry’s most reliable consumer patterns have been upended since COVID-19 struck early this year and it’s inevitable that travel trends during the remainder of 2020 will diverge from what the world is accustomed to.

November is traditionally the busiest month for travel in the U.S. and, although we won’t see the passenger volume we saw last year or the year before, we do expect it to be busier than usual.

Searches and bookings are increasing weekly and we see high intent to travel around the weeks of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year.

In 2019, 61% of Thanksgiving travelers booked their trips within the six weeks leading up to the holiday. Given the prevailing 2020 trend toward making last-minute bookings in view of everchanging state restrictions and flight availability, that tendency seems likely to hold true this year, as well.

From a recent survey, here’s the trends that we are seeing in U.S. air travel and what we can expect to witness leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday. The first is that the busiest day for Thanksgiving 2020 travel will be the day before the celebration, Wednesday, Nov. 25.

As we approach the end of 2020, the importance of spending time together with loved ones and celebrating special holidays together takes on new meaning.

Take a break from your traditional large-group celebrations (which may not be allowed this year) and give yourself and your family a gift that will be remembered for years to come.

As you are thinking about this year’s holiday celebration, instead of struggling to come up with the perfect gadget or widget, focus on moments that matter with your friends, family and loved ones.

Turn this theme into a positive by ending the year with a family vacation to celebrate the holidays in a different state of mind.

Overall, the best advice this holiday travel season is to give yourself plenty of flexibility. We strongly encourage you to check local government restrictions, rules, and safety measures related to COVID-19 and take personal comfort levels and health conditions into consideration before departure.

We are also seeing a huge spike for 2021 travel. With so many people not being able to travel this year they are booking many bucket-list vacations.

Empty nesters are looking at March and April as an expected “safe” time to travel, with the assumption that the pandemic will have subsided. We are also seeing people booking travel for spring break and next summer through September 2021.

Barbara May is owner of Travel Leaders. Travel Leaders has been in the travel industry for over 34 years and the agency is specialized in all types of travel! For the Memphis office, call 901-377-6600. Our Memphis office is located at 2765 Wolf Creek Pkwy., Ste. 104, Memphis, TN 38133, next door to David’s Bridal. Or if you are in the Collierville area, the number is 901-853-6200. As of now, we are open by appointment only.

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