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Professor Joshua Roe gives insight into winter travel season

Joshua Roe, Director and Assistant Teaching Professor in Adventure Recreation Management at WVU Tech recently sat down with WalletHub and gave some insight into what travelers can expect if they’re traveling in the upcoming season.  

Headshot of Joshua Roe

Read the full interview at

What is the outlook for the winter travel season?

Given the current state of the world, I expect to see localized travel be a continued trend. With the uncertainty of fuel prices, supply issues in Europe, and a forecasted cold winter, I expect many will opt for domestic vacation travel. Current research is showing a major trend in a renewed appreciation of outdoor recreation. Since early 2020, 2/3 of Americans have opted for outdoor adventures with new vigor. If the snow is good, I expect to see ski resorts pulsing with activity. It is worth considering places like Winterplace, Snowshoe, and other east coast locations.

What are the best ways for travelers to save money?

While this is not financial advice, use a credit card with travel points earned for purchases that can be used for booking travel and lodging. Several different companies offer this and the points can be redeemed for a cabin with a hot tub in a snowy destination, flights, car rentals, or even a train ride.

What are some logistical do’s and don’ts for winter travel?

Do plan early and plan thoroughly. Do remember to be kind and patient on the roads, on security lines, and shared travel. Especially do remember to be kind to hospitality industry workers in all sectors; they are giving up their time with family and friends to provide a service to you and yours. Do make reservations as early as possible and on low-volume travel days. Do plan extra travel time in areas prone to delays or unsafe road conditions related to weather.

Do not travel on popular days right before or after holidays if it can be avoided; these are generally more expensive bookings. Do not fail to plan for the weather potentials at your vacation destination. Do not forget to plan for delays and cancelations.

In evaluating the best cities for winter holiday travel, what are the top five indicators?

This is somewhat subjective and will vary based on personal interests but consider the following:

1. Ease of arrival and departure by various modes of travel. Will you be flying, driving, or maybe finally taking that train ride for the first time?

2. Area attractions: Do you want museums, coffee shops, and breweries or do you care more about access to ski slopes, adventure, and a secluded cabin?

3. Local culture: Do you want an immersive cultural/language experience or do you tend toward wanting a slow and quiet place to escape?

4. Cost: If you are looking for budget-minded travel, look toward the gateway cities to national parks (New River Gorge National Park and Preserve or Great Smoky Mountains National Park, for example) and consider fuel prices as part of your travel plans. If you are interested in nightlife and big city, consider the relative ease of traveling by train (splurge for the roomette or a room aboard Amtrak if you are on an overnight ride) and let the rhythm of the rails and lack of having to drive give you time to catch up on that recreational reading you have been meaning to do.

5. Be aware of the unfortunate reality of upward-trending violence around the nation: it might be worth checking the local crime rates before booking reservations.

Given the current economic climate, will Americans’ winter holidays be affected in any way this year?

I think there will be an impact on travel this winter. Average fuel prices are up significantly from the past two years and this will impact travel costs nationally and globally. With continued supply chain concerns, conflict internationally, and National Weather Service winter predictions, I suspect a continued increase in ‘staycations’ and local/regional vacations. I also think more people will look to cabin rentals and Airbnb, given continued health concerns. These considerations combined with the increased appreciation for outdoor pursuits make me think that many Americans will look to places within a day's drive and inexpensive or free park access such as the most visited Great Smoky Mountain National Park in east Tennessee or the newest National Park, New River Gorge National Park & Preserve in south-central West Virginia. Both are well situated in the mid-Atlantic region and some 80% of the US population live east of the Mississippi River so they are within that day's drive distance.