Welcome the summer of road trips – Boston Herald

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Amanda and Peter VanOverbeke of Orono, Minn., planned to jet off to Ireland with their two sons, Danny, 18, and Andrew, 16. The summer vacation was to be a present for Danny, who just graduated from Orono High School, and a celebration of his acceptance to Notre Dame — home of the Fighting Irish. Now, given the coronavirus pandemic, they will instead drive to a rental house on Lake Michigan for some family togetherness before taking Danny to school.

The Van Overbekes are shifting gears, from Europe by air to the United States by car, reflecting the altered reality of many other travelers.

Like no summer before, this is the summer of the road trip.

Gas prices have plunged. Unemployment has jumped, bringing an uncertainty that can quash grand vacation plans. The pandemic has scared flyers away from once-crowded planes and grounded more than half of the U.S. airline fleet. People are tired of their homes, where they have been isolating — and dreaming of escapes.

This unprecedented confluence of circumstances has accentuated Americans’ long love affair with the open road.

The Carolinas are a popular AAA search for summer travel, here, the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. Getty Images

In a survey of 1,000 Americans, more than half said they planned to visit family or friends in the U.S. this summer — and 73% of them will do so by car, according to a study by tourism