What did you do on your summer vacation?

Chevy survey finds nearly 80 percent of Americans credit road trips for keeping sane during the pandemic

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2021 Suburban
Chevrolet-sponsored survey finds nearly 80 percent of Americans used road trips to help keep their sanity during the pandemic | Chevrolet photos

Regardless of what the calendar might day, the Labor Day weekend is the traditional end of summer and the family vacation season. It marks the closing of summer cabins and cottages with children going back to school (this year, albeit, perhaps online). 

One of the first things that used to happen when classes were meeting their new teachers was the “what did you do this summer?” essay.

Perhaps with that in mind, Chevrolet and The Harris Poll got together just before the Labor Day weekend and asked more than 1,000 adults about their summer during the coronavirus pandemic.

2021 Chevrolet Suburban Z71 pulls trailer along for the trip

“The challenges of quarantine and social distancing helped spur a resurgence in the American road trip,” the polling company and the automaker said in their news release. “In fact, nearly 80 percent of Americans credited road trips as helping to keep their sanity during the pandemic.

“A majority of Americans said their vehicles became a much-needed escape from home, with many exploring outdoor destinations like beaches and hiking trails. 

“Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed said they value road trips more than they did before the pandemic, and 80 percent of road trippers said going on a road trip has been ‘one of their happiest moments’ since March.”

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In responding to the survey, 89 percent said their vehicle provided a way to get out of the house safely for a vacation-style change of scenery during the pandemic.

Other findings:

  • 20 percent visited a national park for the first time
  • More than 10 percent went camping for the first time
  • 41 percent road tripped to somewhere they’ve never been before
  • The top outdoor road trip activities include beaches (41 percent), hiking (31 percent), fishing (29 percent) and going to national parks (27 percent)
Chevy notes that rear-seat entertainment and cupholders make for happier travelers

“In addition to exploring new places, roughly 4 in 10 road trippers say that they now have a greater appreciation for the outdoors (43 percent) and for domestic travel (38 percent),” the survey reported.

“The open roads are a welcome change, and for decades, many Americans have embraced the outdoors with the Tahoe and Suburban as the ultimate road trip vehicles,” Bob Krapes, Chevrolet Trucks marketing director, said in plugging his company’s products. 

The survey also found that 41 percent of respondents plan a vacation road trip over Thanksgiving or the winter holiday season. 

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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