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AAA: Two-thirds of Americans ‘ready’ to travel

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A record high 69.3 percent of travelers, since the pandemic began, say they are “ready” to travel, a sign of increased travel optimism as the COVID-19 vaccine rolls out across the country.

This according to a nationwide Destination Analysts survey, which also registers 77.7 percent of those surveyed saying they are actively dreaming about and planning travel, the highest number this year.

“Each week that goes by, AAA travel advisors are seeing more hope and excitement from their customers about traveling this summer or fall and in 2022,” said Martha Mitchell Meade, manager of public and government affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Fueling the excitement about traveling are the newly updated CDC travel guidelines, which indicate that fully vaccinated people can travel at low risk to themselves. AAA believes this is welcome news for anyone considering traveling in the coming months, especially as vaccines become more widely available.

Many Americans are eager to travel, and this opens up that exciting prospect for travelers heading into the summer travel season.

The vaccine also appears to be the “ticket” that makes travelers feel safe confirming their trips. “AAA is seeing many people contacting their travel advisors on the very day they are fully vaccinated to book trips. Many are wanting to travel to sun and fun destinations and booking for trips leaving in the next 4-6 weeks, rather than the more normal 6-8 months in advance,” Meade said.

While there are still COVID protocols to adhere to and while not all locations are at full capacity, many travelers are ready to go, and are willing to do what it takes to be safe, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Travel advisors are also enjoying a resurgence in popularity at AAA as travel bookings continue to increase. Vacationers are eager for knowledge of COVID protocols and to be prepared for what to expect.

“AAA Travel advisors are feeling more appreciated than ever for their expertise not only on travel planning and destinations, but also for their knowledge of required COVID procedures and restrictions at their destinations,” Meade said. “Once travelers know what to expect, they feel much more comfortable deciding when they are ready to go and can do so without the fear of the unknown.”

AAA advises travelers to keep in mind that some local and state travel restrictions may still remain in place. Travelers can refer to AAA’s COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map and for the latest information to plan their trip.

Additionally, AAA provides the following tips for travelers:

  • Plan ahead. Know COVID-19 protocols for your destination.
  • Consider advance reservations. Availability in some popular places is limited this year and in 2022. For 2022, pent up demand is causing a surge of bookings. If you want to travel soon or this summer, remain flexible.
  • Consider travel insurance. The pandemic and resulting cancellations and delays, made travelers realize the value of travel insurance.
  • Plan transportation. Since many rental car companies sold cars that were sitting unrented during the pandemic, availability is tight and prices can be high. Consider alternate means of local travel at your destination.
  • Know your flight options. Most airlines dropped change fees during the pandemic for most fares. The fees may or may not be re-instated on certain fares as air travel resumes.

Destination Analysts conducts weekly surveys of “American travelers about their thoughts, feelings, perceptions and behaviors surrounding travel in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.”

This nationwide Destination Analysts survey of 1,206 respondents was conducted April 2-4.

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