What a COVID-19 Vaccine May Mean for Travel in 2021 

With COVID-19 vaccination rates rising, would-be travelers are seeing glimmers of hope.
covid vaccine

With COVID-19 vaccinations on the risewhat does that mean for the world of travel? 

We turned to Chuck Nardozza, managing director of travel sales at AAA Northeast, for insights and answers 

“Each time we hit another milestone with regards to the vaccine we see a glimmer of hope,” he said. “This is giving travelers the confidence to book.” 

More than 9 million people in the U.S. have been vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus since the vaccine was approved on an emergency basis on Dec. 11, 2020. While supplies are currently limited, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts the numbers will increase in the coming weeks and months. 


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That means travelers are starting to research destinations, and AAA Northeast is seeing a boost in sales, Nardozza said.  

Many travelers are still focused on U.S. destinations, theme parks and the CaribbeanWe are also seeing a resurgence in some of the road trips we saw over the summer,” he said, like Lake Placid and the Finger Lakes in New York, and Maine, New Hampshire and VermontFamily travel is also key right now. 

Moving further into 2021, Nardozza sees Europe – especially European river cruises – coming back in the summerPeople will also want to explore U.S. destinations, like Alaska and national parks, as well as bucket-list destinations. He also predicts that outdoor and wide-open spaces will be some of the first to bounce back once COVID travel restrictions ease.   

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Recent searches on AAA.com/Travel confirm these trends, with visitors looking for information on Disney and Universal theme parks, lush getaways like Hawaii and Aruba, and quick trips like the Caribbean and Ireland.  

Here’s the complete list: 

  1. Disney  
  2. Aruba 
  3. Hawaii 
  4. Universal 
  5. Orlando 
  6. Florida 
  7. Las Vegas 
  8. Caribbean 
  9. Alaska 
  10. Ireland 

Once travel does start picking up, suppliers will have less capacity to fill, Nardozza said. That means fewer cruise ships sailing with fewer passengers, and fewer tour buses operating at half-full capacityAnd with reduced availability, travelers will see more soldout experiences than ever before.   

Nardozza’s advice? If you have a particular date, destination or ship you want to be on, book now – or else it may be too late. 

After 2020, nobody wants to take another day for granted,” Nardozza said. “We have had plenty of time to plan, dream and virtually visit some amazing destinations. Now we want to get out and explore.”   

Need help planning that dream vacation? Take advantage of member-only deals, special travel presentations and limited-time offers at the Virtual AAA Travel Marketplace, taking place Jan. 30-31.


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15 Thoughts on “What a COVID-19 Vaccine May Mean for Travel in 2021 

  1. My plan was to do a European Christmas marketplace tour in December.. When do you think you would have info on that?

  2. Thanks for the info , my kids have been visiting the areas you mentioned . My wife and self have gotten our shots will carry card that explains same , hope it will maker travel a little easier

    1. Hi there!
      Guidelines and restrictions are changing all the time, so before traveling you may want to talk with a AAA Travel advisor. You can schedule an in-branch meeting by visiting AAA.com/Travel. AAA also maintains a frequently updated COVID-19 Travel Restrictions map that may be helpful as well.
      Thanks so much for reading!
      -Dana L.

    1. Hi there!
      I’d recommend contacting a AAA Travel advisor for advice. They’re up to date on the latest restrictions and travel best practices. Feel free to schedule an in-branch meeting by visiting AAA.com/Travel.

      You can also consult the AAA COVID-19 Travel Restrictions map here.

      Thanks for reading!
      -Dana L.

    1. Hi Mark!
      I just asked that question of Chuck Nardozza, with whom I spoke for the article. Here’s his response:

      We do monitor the restrictions closely. However, we do not tend to get any advance notice from any of the states as to when restrictions will be eased. We recommend checking our AAA Covid-19 Travel Restrictions Map, which can be found here.

      Thanks for reading!
      -Dana L.

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