KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – After nearly a year of travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders, 60% of travelers say they’re ready to roam again and are planning a vacation sometime this spring or summer. But even as vaccine roll out ramps up in the U.S., many travelers are facing the reality that things may not return to normal as soon as they’d hoped.
That’s why Travelocity says most leisure travelers aren’t booking big bucket list trips so far in 2021. Instead, they’re planning “toe-dip trips”, or shorter trips that rebuild confidence and create a sense of normalcy in the near term.
Spring Break Travel Forecast
A recent Travelocity survey shows that many families are still planning spring break trips this year. In fact, parents have been 2x more likely overall to travel since the start of the pandemic and more than half of families have already reserved their first leisure trip in 2021.
Right now, Travelocity is seeing the greatest family travel demand in March for spring break and June-August for summer travel. Here’s some of the most popular destinations and trip types.
· Tennessee is the top family-friendly destination so far in 2021. Cities in the Great Smoky Mountain region – including Pigeon Forge, Chattanooga and Gatlinburg – and Nashville are in the top 20 most reserved by families.
· Orlando and Vegas remain popular for vacation packages. Hotels with free cancellation and enhanced cleaning and safety measures are popular in both destinations, giving travelers time to change their trips if they change their minds.
· Lake views and mountain towns are popular for road trippers. Lake Tahoe, Big Bear Lake, and Lake Havasu City are among the top road trip destinations, in addition to small ski towns in the Rocky and Blue Ridge Mountains.
· Midwest cities are popular for staycations and shorter stays. Chicago, Detroit and Minneapolis are seeing the greatest demand for weekend getaways. Kansas City, Indianapolis, and Oklahoma City are also popular.
Travel Tips from Travelocity
#1: Find flexible travel options, so you can easily change your trip if you change your mind.
· Shop hotels with free cancellation and flights with free change fees on any future travel. Many hotels are offering free cancellation up until the week of the reservation.
· If you’re flying, consider skipping basic economy fares which often don’t come with as much flexibility right now.
TIP #2: Prioritize what makes you feel safe when traveling in the short-term.
· Travelers say the #1 influence on their decision to travel right now is the cleanliness and safety of their accommodations.
· Enhanced cleanliness filters can help you sort for properties going above and beyond right now. Look for 3 things in particular:
o Additional safety measures (like PPE and temperature checks)
o Social distancing (such as limited use of amenities such as pools and extra vacancy time between bookings)
o Cleaning practices (including use of disinfectants and hand sanitizer for guests)
TIP #3: Pack and plan with pandemic prep in mind.
· Cover the basics by packing clean masks and hand sanitizer, but also do your prep and know the local guidelines for where you’re traveling and when you return home.
· In many places, there are restrictions on things like indoor dining and activities, so make sure you design your itinerary around what’s open and what’s available.