Travel returns: how Americans will vacation this summer

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Travel returns: how Americans will vacation this summer

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The American Automobile Association has released a forecast: what the summer of 2021 will be like

By plane, by car, and on a cruise ship. Americans are ready to vacation this summer. Vaccinations have made people braver. A long quarantine has made people miss adventures.

"We're ready to travel, ready to explore new places!" - says David Bain of suburban Washington, D.C. Before the pandemic, he and his family used to go on vacation at least twice a year, but quarantine forced him to cancel any travel. Now, however, all of his family members are vaccinated, so there are plenty of plans for the summer.

"We're not just thinking about where to go. We're thinking about where to fly! Maybe to Costa Rica or north of Barcelona. Spain really isn't open to tourists yet, but hopefully it will be soon," says David Bain.

And there are many like David, tour operators believe.

"Our research shows: more than two-thirds of Americans are planning trips this season," explains Elizabeth Monahan, Senior Manager, Communications TripAdvisor.

The U.S. summer vacation season begins the last weekend in May. This May, on the 31st, Americans celebrate Memorial Day, which is a federal holiday weekend, which means a long weekend.

"Memorial Day is a great indicator of what tourism will be like over the summer. We predict that this weekend will see a 60 percent increase in travel compared to 2020," explains Jeanette McGee, spokesperson of AAA.

Most are planning trips within the country. Big cities will be avoided by travelers, but beaches and National Parks are a priority.

"Seventy-five percent of our U.S. audience said they plan to vacation in their own country. People are not yet willing to visit densely populated cities, instead preferring nature where they can keep a social distance," clarifies Elizabeth Monahan, Senior Manager, Communications TripAdvisor.

The most popular mode of transportation remains the car. More than half of U.S. residents plan to take a road trip, the American Auto Association estimates.

"It's a convenient form of travel, especially during a pandemic. It's your own car. It's your own space. You decide who you go with, when you go and where you stay," explains Jeanette McGee, spokesperson of AAA.

At the same time, experts warn: this very summer there may be problems with gasoline supplies at gas stations. There is no need to panic and stock up on gasoline. But one should be ready for the queues.

"During the pandemic, the number of gasoline truck drivers decreased by 15-20 percent. So it's not about a shortage of gasoline, but a shortage of drivers. So the farther a gas station is from an oil terminal, the more likely it is to have supply disruptions," says Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis Oil Price Information service.

The pandemic has also affected who Americans travel with. Many are taking animals they got during the quarantine.

"We're also seeing: whole large families are traveling now because everyone can finally get together after the quarantine. So they use the vacation to reconnect with family," says Misty Belles, Managing Director of Global Public Relations at Virtuoso Travel Company.

And the main and most active travelers this year are not young people, but retirees. They are ready to fly abroad and buy a cruise ship tour.

"95% of those we talked to answered: ready to travel as soon as they get the shot. Retirees haven't spent anything on vacations all year. So now they are on a budget and willing to vacation," clarifies Misty Belles.

Although prices are going up as well - the demand is high and there are not many places to stay. There are still quarantine restrictions on the number of guests in the hotels. Overall, tourism this summer is only 13% behind 2019, when no one had heard of COVID-19 yet.