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More than half of Oklahomans are eager for summer travel, AAA poll shows
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More than half of Oklahomans are eager for summer travel, AAA poll shows

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More than 56% of Oklahomans are considering or planning to take a trip this summer, according to respondents of a recent American Automobile Association (AAA) poll.

A total of 41% say plans will include persons outside their COVID “bubble.” The AAA survey of 605 residents in Oklahoma was conducted April 22-23, 2021 by Public Policy Polling.

“Whether it is a quick getaway or longer, more extravagant trips — so-called ‘Revenge Travel’ — many Oklahomans have been eager for destinations to open back up,” Leslie Gamble, manager of public and government affairs for AAA Oklahoma, said in a statement.

“Optimism coincides with completion of COVID-19 vaccinations and strong consumer confidence as Oklahomans take steps to put the pandemic behind us.”

Persons waiting to make last-minute plans or staying home say their decisions are not related to COVID-19 concerns. Only 22% of Oklahomans surveyed say that is the biggest factor in summer travel plans.

State restrictions are lessening, if not disappearing, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that fully vaccinated people can resume activities that they did prior to the pandemic — including domestic travel — at low risk to themselves.

But AAA’s poll found that COVID-related complexities are influencing some Oklahomans’ summer travel plans.

A total of 31% say they still have COVID-related travel concerns, and 26% say that uncertainty about activities and attractions at their destinations is a consideration as part of the planning process.

“American views about traveling are complex as we emerge from the COVID pandemic,” Gamble said. “Especially for those venturing out for the first time in over a year, re-entry brings uncertainties.”

Treks across America continue be the trip of choice for the majority of those surveyed in the Sooner State for the Memorial Day holiday and summer trips. Close to half, or 47%, plan to travel by car. Only 14% plan to fly.

Roadside breakdowns can ruin such long-awaited road trips. In the summer of 2019, AAA Oklahoma received 63,177 calls for help for dead batteries, flat tires, lockouts and other vehicle issues.

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The drive up U.S. 75 from Tulsa Hills at 8 a.m. on Feb. 4 took about 11 minutes to get to downtown, even with congestion leading up to the Interstate 44 interchange, where lane closures are expected to affect traffic through next year.

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