A lot of pent-up wanderlust is about to be unleashed.
Online traffic and bookings have significantly increased of late, particularly for hotels and car rentals, according to a recent internal survey by AAA Travel. With 40% of the U.S. population now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Americans are demonstrating increased confidence to travel as we head into summer.
This trend comes fresh on the heels of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated travel guidance that fully vaccinated people can travel at low risk to themselves, and can forgo masks in most settings.
AAA Travel advisors are fielding numerous travel inquiries from people who are planning trips after a year at home. Booking data reveals that domestic travel and road trips remain the biggest drivers of travel recovery in the near term.
Here are the top places to visit in the U.S. right now, based on AAA member interest and bookings.
Note: Due to the ever-changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, please see official websites before visiting to check for restrictions or closures.
Yes, the land of the Mouse House and Universal Orlando Resort is right at the top of the list of places to visit in the U.S., and it’s no surprise. The parks are open, with increased safety measures and some new procedures, and families are ready to add an element of fun and magic back into their lives. At Walt Disney World, guests must have both a park reservation and valid admission for the same park on the same date, while Universal advises that its parks may reach capacity levels during the summer due to limited attendance numbers. The basics: Plan ahead if you’re traveling to the parks and make reservations and book theme park tickets in advance.
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Gourmet food, glamorous gaming, outdoor fun and even – yes – family-friendly fun is just some of what you’ll find in Las Vegas. New spots are always opening up: After filling up up on aesthetic art and creative joy at Area15 and Meow Wolf’s Omega Mart, head to the Downtown Container Park for trendy eats and shops – and a 40-foot metallic fire-breathing praying mantis that serves as the park’s mascot of sorts.
If you’ve ever dreamed of taking an Alaskan cruise, now might be the time to book. President Joe Biden is expected to sign a bill into law Monday that would allow cruise ships to return to Alaska this summer. In addition to seeing wildlife like puffins and orca and humpback whales from your cabin, you can also see bears, moose, wolves and caribou – and exquisite panoramas – if you explore Denali National Park.
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Fort Myers, Fla.
Perhaps best known in these parts for being home to Fenway South, the Boston Red Sox’s spring training facility, Fort Myers is also known for its historic sites, sandy stretches of beach, great seafood and outdoor activities like fishing, biking and paddling. You can also check out the winter estates of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, if you’re so inclined. The area is also home to Sanibel Island, a beach paradise known for its spectacular sunsets and seashell-combing.
Always one of the top places to visit in the U.S., the ultimate tropical paradise also has good news for travelers: Gov. David Ige wants to open up the islands to tourists by the July 4th holiday. By then, vaccinated travelers would not need to take a COVID-19 test to be able to visit.
Key West, Fla.
Florida’s southernmost point is surrounded by warm Atlantic waters on all sides, with plenty of historic architecture, water sports and fishing opportunities, and the chance to see where literary legends like Ernest Hemingway, Robert Frost and Tennessee Williams lived and worked. (Of course, make sure to get a slice of Key lime pie while you’re there. They’re especially good dipped in chocolate and served frozen on a stick.)
Palm Springs, Calif.
Midcentury-modern architecture, hot springs, beautiful weather and vintage boutiques all call Palm Springs home. The former playground Hollywood stars and starlets, today’s Palm Springs beckons those with a taste for style, glamour and relaxation with its many fine restaurants, gorgeous landscapes, tasteful shopping and many hiking and biking trails that thread through the desert to explore.
Need a ride? AAA members can save up to 20% on Hertz rentals.
Where are you looking forward to traveling? Tell us in the comments below! And check out AAA.com/Travel for all of your travel-planning needs.