It’s been over one year since Americans were told to cancel their travel plans due to the coronavirus pandemic, and there’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel for those pining for a getaway. With vaccinations mounting in the U.S. just in time for warm weather, many will be venturing out further than their backyards for the busy summer travel season.
And there are some clear trends in Americans’ unfurling vacation plans this Memorial Day through Labor Day, with travelers flocking to hotspots ranging from affordable outdoor locales to theme parks, and other similar entertainment venues making their comeback. Part of the reason is likely the pandemic’s ongoing flight deals, which experts say should continue to live on for the foreseeable future—even as more Americans become inoculated.
“While travel demand and prices are rebounding rapidly, there are still deals available,” says Priceline CEO Brett Keller. “Domestic airfares are running roughly 10 percent lower this summer than 2019 prices.”
Whether you want to avoid the crowds or are fully-vaccinated and looking to join your fellow travelers in beloved summertime destinations, remember to respect local ordinances still in place, like mask mandates or requirements for testing upon arrival. Here’s where Americans are actually heading this summer, according to flight search and booking data from Priceline, Orbitz, and Skyscanner.
A popular travel spot throughout the pandemic for its warm weather and outdoor activities, Florida continues to trend in flight bookings this summer, as a domestic vacation that feels further flung. Orlando is Priceline’s top-booked and top-searched destination for 2021 summer travel, and Skyscanner ranks the Disney World air hub its sixth most-searched destination so far for summer 2021 travel dates. And those escaping to Florida outside the theme parks are also in good company: Key West, Tampa, and Fort Lauderdale are among the top flights searches for Americans based in the northeast, according to Orbitz, and Fort Meyers, Key West, Fort Walton Beach, and Sarasota are among the site’s top ten searched domestic destinations for July 2021. Airfare savings might have something to do with it: The state’s five largest air hubs have an average round-trip flight price between $232 and $262 for the super-hot summer months, according to Priceline.
If you’re dreaming of piña coladas in cobblestoned Old San Juan, you’re far from alone. Puerto Rico is the third most-booked destination for summer 2021, according to Priceline, with Orbitz naming it the most popular search destination for those living on the East Coast. Skyscanner data shows that interest in San Juan has spiked compared to 2019, moving the island from the 28th-most booked U.S. summer destination to the 9th overall for summer 2021.