August Vacation In the Time of Covid-19 May Have a Silver Lining

Panama City, Florida, on July 31.

Photographer: Aileen Perilla/Bloomberg

Many families across America would usually be packing up right about now, getting ready for that last summer getaway to the Caribbean or Europe before Labor Day and the traditional start of school. But the coronavirus pandemic has upended travel, while remote work and remote learning have blurred the boundaries of the summer high season.

Some have managed to take time off over the past few months, often avoiding airplanes and sticking closer to home—burning gasoline instead of jet fuel as they drove to beaches, state parks and lakes. Hotels have been out and recreational vehicles in; big city shopping trips have given way to camping and hiking.

“There’s this big giant ball of pent-up demand that keeps running into this wall of fear of the coronavirus,” said Amir Eylon, chief executive officer of the market research firm Longwoods International. “The mindset is shifting, and people are figuring out what’s the acceptable level of mitigated risk to travel.”