AAA has released their 2021 holiday travel predictions, and the organization expects more than 109 million people will travel 50 miles or more between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2. That’s a nearly 34% increase from 2020.
Much of the increased travel is due to Americans largely staying home last year, before COVID-19 vaccines were widely available. In fact, travel will almost be back to pre-pandemic levels, at 92% of what they were recorded as in 2019. Airlines will experience a whopping 184% increase from 2020.
“Americans who canceled their vacations in 2020 want to gather with family and friends for the holidays this year, although they will still be mindful of the pandemic and the new omicron variant,” Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel, said in a statement. “With vaccines widely available, conditions are much different and many people feel a greater level of comfort with travel.”
So, where are people going? According to AAA booking data through October, warm cities with theme parks are at the top of Americans’ travel lists, including like Orlando, Florida, and Anaheim, California. Las Vegas, Nevada, and New York City are also popular spots.
Here are the top U.S. tourist destinations, according to AAA.
Las Vegas, NV
New York, NY; Kahului, Maui, HI (tie)
Fort Lauderdale, FL
San Diego, CA
AAA urges anyone who plans to travel or gather over the holidays to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance. “It’s essential to know requirements and recommendations based on your vaccination status, where you’re traveling from and your destination,” they state.