Pandemic travel trends keep tourists closer to home

Pandemic travel trends keep tourists closer to home

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Fourth of July falling on a weekend typically would mean it’s a busy time to travel, but, stuck in the middle of a global pandemic, where people go and how they act on vacation are changing.

In the woods of Clark County, Ind., a sandy oasis is drawing crowds.

With other places closed, those at Deam Lake said Friday that beach chairs are filled with more people from just a little farther away than normal.

"Since this COVID thing came down, we've been getting a real high percentage of people, day people, walk-ins for the beach mostly, from Louisville and surrounding areas," Pat Cleary, the park property manager, said.

Vanessa Johnson said she feels safe at the park, and has been looking forward to an escape.

"It's been a blast," Johnson said. "Just water, hanging out with friends and family. Just get away from reality. It's not far, but you seem far."

Johnson said she's from New Albany. So, she hasn't traveled too far to find peace in nature.

According to travel data from Airbnb, that may be a trend this summer.

The short-term rental company writes that since the beginning of April, more than 60 percent of all domestic US bookings have been for trips within 300 miles from home. It added that more than 20 percent of bookings over the Fourth of July weekend are in rural areas.

For others traveling farther from home, experts have suggestions on how to stay safe. UofL Dr. Forest Arnold said that if people are going to an area with more cases, understand the current COVID-19 practices of that location.

Arnold also noted tourists can limit their activities if they are going to a place where there are fewer restrictions.

“If that is the way it’s going to be, and they’re spiking in their cases, it may be that take-out is a much better plan than your original plan of eating in the restaurant,” Arnold said.

At Deam Lake, Cleary said precautions are in place, but a lot of those protections are up to visitors.

People he welcomes to have fun safely.

"I just think it's going to be a really hot weekend," Cleary said. "A good time for people to get out and enjoy the beach. I wish I could join them."

Outside of swimming and kayaking, there will be some special events happening here as well.

Indiana and Kentucky state parks are open for visitors.

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