Over the past year, the thought of traveling has created feelings of risk, fear, uncertainty and shame. But now that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released new travel and COVID-19 guidelines, many people are falling back on travel planning.
Last week, the CDC announced that fully vaccinated people can “travel safely” to the United States. Domestic destinations in places like Hawaii and Florida are already experiencing small tourism booms, and this demand is bound to remain high as the vaccine rollout continues.
But people also dream of their first trips after the pandemic outside the United States. Many travel platforms and experts have observed some interesting trends when it comes to Americans’ destination goals. Here is what they find.
Stay close with beach destinations
“I think there is pent-up demand for international travel,” Mike Kennedy, co-founder of Koala Travel Market, told HuffPost. “The Caribbean and Mexico in particular are likely to see a dramatic increase in tourism from Americans. It reconciles that feeling of wanting to travel that we all feel without taking too many risks. Flights that are not much longer (or in some cases shorter) than domestic flights. “
In January, Koala released a report on future travel trends based on Google data, which found Puerto Rico and Mexico to be the two top destinations outside of the 50 states that were attracting interest in travel searches. Others in the top 10 included Jamaica, Aruba, Costa Rica and the Bahamas – indicating an interest in beach vacations that are not too far from home.
The beach craze is in line with the trends we’re already seeing this year among those who chose to travel ahead of the CDC’s announcement.
Hotel price comparison site Trivago reported that its platform’s top five destinations for March 2021 were Las Vegas, Miami Beach, Orlando, Myrtle Beach and Cancun. The most popular destinations for American travelers in the “international” category also included Playa del Carmen, Mexico; Playa Bavaro, Dominican Republic; and San Juan, Puerto Rico (although Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, many platforms consider places outside of the 50 states to be international destinations).
A Tripadvisor report from mid-March found that the top 10 fastest growing destinations for Americans are Isla Verde, Puerto Rico; Saint Thomas; Playa Maroma, Mexico; Tulum, Mexico; Key West, Florida; Key Largo, Florida; Miami Beach; Christiansted, US Virgin Islands; Cruz Bay, US Virgin Islands; and Fort Myers Beach, Florida.
Additionally, Squaremouth Travel Insurance revealed in March that most of the most popular international destinations for U.S. travelers using the platform are island countries and territories, with the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Dominican Republic, the US Virgin Islands, Costa Rica and Mexico in the top five. .
As people begin to plan their so-called “revenge trip” to make up for trips canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that sunshine and relaxation are central concerns.
“We believe travelers will visit places they know because they will find solace in this familiarity, or seek new places where they can move freely and safely,” said Carolyne Doyon, President and CEO of the Club Med North America and the Caribbean.
“At Club Med, we are already seeing increased interest in bookings for our resorts in Florida, the Caribbean and Mexico, with over 40% of bookings from clients who have never stayed with us before or from clients who are staying with us for the first time in over three years, and anticipating that travelers will continue to feel more comfortable with more widespread vaccine distribution, we will end up seeing an explosion in bookings throughout the same period ” , she added.
Beyond the Western Hemisphere
Yet many would-be travelers dare to dream of more distant destinations.
The Maldives, Japan, Greece and Iceland were also in the top 10 of Koala’s trending travel destinations. Its list of top destinations in the city and region also included Bora Bora, Paris, Dubai, and Bali.
When news of the promising efficacy rates of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines broke in November, travel searches increased on Skyscanner. International cities like London, Paris, Copenhagen, Madrid and Amsterdam were among the most searched searches.
But while these destinations may be on people’s minds, they don’t seem to be part of their actual travel itineraries. Squaremouth reported in March that the share of travelers purchasing insurance for travel to Europe fell to 8% in 2021, from 25 to 45% in pre-pandemic years.
This is likely due to a combination of distance and the fact that most European countries still have travel restrictions for U.S. visitors, vaccine rollout has been slow and increasing COVID-19 cases and lockdowns abound. . Still, a number of countries across the Atlantic are said to allow (or plan to allow) vaccinated foreign travelers, including Iceland, Cyprus, Estonia and Poland.
Just because you can going somewhere doesn’t necessarily mean you should, however. As the CDC has advised, domestic travel is the name of the game right now – and only for those who are fully vaccinated.
Even if you belong to this group, it is still important to take proper safety precautions wherever you travel. Wear a mask, wash your hands, keep your distance, and stay home if you’re feeling unwell. Times like these call for collective responsibility.