With COVID-19 vaccinations on the rise, what 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 Caribbean. We 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 Vermont. Family travel is also key right now.
Moving further into 2021, Nardozza sees Europe – especially European river cruises – coming back in the summer. People 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.
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:
- Las Vegas
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 capacity. And with reduced availability, travelers will see more sold–out 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.