LEXINGTON, Ky. — A record 69.3% of travelers―the highest number since the pandemic began―say they are “ready” to travel, a sign of increased travel optimism as the vaccine rolls out across the country, according to a nationwide Destination Analysts survey conducted April 2-4, 2021. The vast majority, or 77.7%, of those surveyed are also now actively dreaming about and planning travel, the highest number this year.
“Each week that goes by, AAA travel advisors are seeing more hope and excitement from their customers about traveling this summer or fall and in 2022,” said Lori Weaver Hawkins, public and government affairs manager, AAA Blue Grass.
Fueling the excitement about traveling are the newly updated CDC travel guidelines, which indicate that fully vaccinated people can travel at low risk to themselves. AAA believes this is welcome news for anyone considering traveling in the coming months, especially as vaccines become more widely available. Many Americans are eager to travel, and this opens up that exciting prospect for travelers heading into the summer travel season.
The vaccine also appears to be the “ticket” that makes travelers feel safe confirming their trips. “AAA is seeing many people contacting their travel advisors on the very day they are fully vaccinated to book trips. Many are wanting to travel to sun and fun destinations and booking for trips leaving in the next 4-6 weeks, rather than the more normal 6-8 months in advance,” added Weaver Hawkins.
The CDC says individuals are considered fully vaccinated:
- Two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or
- Two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
While there are still COVID-19 protocols to adhere to, and not all locations are at full capacity, many travelers are ready to go and are willing to do what it takes to be safe, according to AAA.
Travel advisors are also experiencing a resurgence in popularity at AAA, as travel bookings continue to increase. Vacationers are eager for knowledge of COVID protocols and to be prepared for what to expect.
“AAA Travel advisors are feeling more appreciated than ever for their expertise, not only on travel planning and destinations, but also for their knowledge of required COVID procedures and restrictions at their destinations,” Weaver Hawkins added. “Once travelers know what to expect, they feel much more comfortable deciding when they are ready to go, and can do so without the fear of the unknown.”
Popular AAA bookings include road trips across the U.S., Florida, some Caribbean destinations and Mexico.
AAA advises travelers to keep in mind that some local and state travel restrictions may still remain in place. Travelers can refer to AAA’s COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map and TripTik.AAA.com for the latest information to plan their trip.
Additionally, AAA offers the following tips for travelers:
- Plan ahead. Know COVID-19 protocols for your destination.
- Consider advance reservations. Availability in some popular places is limited this year and in 2022. For 2022, pent-up demand is causing a surge of bookings. If you want to travel soon or this summer, remain flexible.
- Consider travel insurance. The pandemic, and resulting cancellations and delays, made travelers realize the value of travel insurance.
- Plan transportation. Since many rental car companies sold cars that were sitting unrented during the pandemic, availability is tight and prices can be high. Consider alternate means of local travel at your destination.
- Know your flight options. Most airlines dropped change fees during the pandemic for most fares. The fees may or may not be re-instated on certain fares as air travel resumes.