LOS ANGELES – Jonathan Ade and his girlfriend, Tara, finally decided to drive from Los Angeles to his family’s home in Northern Virginia, after months of throwing out the idea. Like many Angelenos, they were very risk-averse – no dining out, even outside; rare visits with friends, and even these were eight feet apart on the porches. What You Need to Know Travel experts expect Americans to stay home on Thanksgiving, though driving will remain a relatively popular option National, state and county authorities have advised people to refrain to travel amid rising COVID cases. expects travel to be more popular than many think, after strong sales in fall months Man who took a trip across the country before Thanksgiving feels conflicted about his trip : “There are no good choices,” he said. The idea of being able to come home, after months of relative isolation where even the most semi-normal social situations seemed wrapped in cellophane, was like a dream come true. Ade and his girlfriend even underwent four COVID-19 tests, each, to make sure they were safe with his family. As COVID cases began a winter wave and national and national travel recommendations began to emerge, stress increased for Ade. He and his girlfriend considered other options but quickly dismissed them. They are prone to small infections, in air travel, even in the best of circumstances. So they insisted and were among the first Californians to be part of what travel experts predict a much smaller increase in travel than normally seen during the holiday season. Now settled in Virginia until after Thanksgiving, Ade believes they won’t be making a similar trip away from Los Angeles at least until a vaccine becomes widely available. “We expected it to be a little stressful, but we wanted it to be 80% fun and 20% stressful. It ended up being 60/40, maybe 55/45, and during that time cases have been increasing across the country, ”Ade said. “We were doubting ourselves, asking if it was the right thing to do now.” Many people in California and across the country seem to be asking the same question. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the State of California and Los Angeles County this week all issued warnings against Thanksgiving travel amid the surge in COVID cases. LA County reported 4,272 new cases and 35 new deaths on Friday, as daily averages climb. “If we act now, we can prevent rising rates of illness and death, stressing our health care system and further hamper our recovery. If we agree that our collective priority is to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 so that we can move forward with recovery, then what needs to be done is clear, ”said Barbara Ferrer, director of public health at the LA County. “We will have to change our vacation plans, change our routines and take care of each other.” Automobile Club of Southern California spokesperson Jeffery Spring agrees. AAA expects overall travel by Southern Californians to decline 13% from 2019, the largest year-over-year decline since the 2008 recession. This forecast expects car travel is not as affected as air travel, but related industries will always be affected. “Air travel and other forms of travel have declined dramatically, which has mitigated the decline in car travel,” Spring said. “It’s still a decline, but based on the decline in other categories, if people travel, they feel more comfortable doing it by car.” Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, has found that 70% of Americans will not be hitting the road this year. “Usually it’s the opposite. Over 70% travel for vacation, ”he said. Heather Garcia’s family owns the stores at the small I-10 stop in Chiriaco Summit, where a small community has grown up around a few businesses, including a gas station and gift shop, and a coffee shop, it’s one of the only stops between Blythe and Coachella and a key stopping point for travelers between Southern California and the Southwest. She’s seen quite a bit of travel over the past few months, more than trucks and freight, but recreational trips to and from national parks and the Colorado River. “Overall we lost [in 2020] – everything became very calm in March and early April, ”Garcia said. The business, however, remained open, even with little foot traffic. “Then it slowly started, and now we see that we have had quite busy September and October compared to 2019,” she said. She’s been so busy that she fears their supplier may keep the gas tanks full during the week. “They are planning a slower travel week than next week,” Garcia said. “I don’t know. We think he’s going to be at least as busy as last year,” Garcia said. Meanwhile, Ade is happy to be part of her family – hugging her parents after about a year apart was an incredible relief, but the ways to make it were stressful. He and his girlfriend spent many evenings during their week-long trip avoiding people who flout mask requirements. Particularly in the southern United States, wearing a mask seemed to be part of a culture of “politeness, but no respect”. But, as someone worried about COVID this year, he’s still in conflict over his trip. “There are no good decisions. Every decision you make will be bad in one way or another. Whether it is to stay at home, to see people, to go outside, to isolate themselves, there are no decisions that do not make them uncomfortable in this process ”, a said Ade. Digital journalist Joseph Pimentel contributed to this report. .