Interest is high for all types of travel, as different as regional road trips or guided journeys with commercial tour operators.
“We’d anticipated pent-up demand for travel this year, but it has been even beyond our expectations,” says Timo Shaw, president of VBT Bicycling Vacations and Country Walkers, which offer active trips around the globe. “Right now, domestic tours are almost sold out for 2022 — with lots of interest in 2023 as well.”
Across the country, the most popular summer destinations include the Atlantic and Gulf coast beaches, Orlando, Florida, theme parks and Hawaii. Overseas trips are seeing a jump too, fueled by a recent change in federal policy that eliminated COVID-19 testing for U.S. residents returning from abroad, and for other incoming international travelers.
The Allianz study predicts vacation travel to Europe jumping by 600 percent over 2021. Top cities include London, Paris, Dublin, Rome and Reykjavík, Iceland. All this means airports are beyond crowded even in the middle of the week when traffic is usually lighter.
Kirsten Maxwell, founder of the family travel blog Kids Are A Trip, says she has noticed the difference, most recently when she had to fly through London’s Heathrow Airport. “It feels even more crowded than pre-COVID if that’s possible. I imagine that July and August are going to be ridiculously busy.”
It’s the same for beach towns and other drive-to holiday spots near metropolitan areas.
For example, Ocean City, Maryland, and nearby Bethany Beach, Delaware, were among the most booked vacation home destinations for the Fourth of July, according to a survey of more than 1,000 people by Vacasa, a rental management site.
This area is particularly attractive to those within a three- or four-hour drive, with most travelers coming from Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia. Other popular sites include Cape Cod, the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the Oregon coast and Gulf Coast. Kay Maghan of Alabama’s Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism, expects some people to make last-minute plans this summer. “COVID has changed how travelers book trips. They want to make sure they are well and perceive the destination as safe before booking.”