Image by David Mark from Pixabay
Despite the number of COVID-19 infections, Florida seems to still be a top spot to vacation for many Americans this year. This comes from official data collected by the travel itinerary app TripIt. The data collected shows millions of people plan to travel to COVID-19 hot spots, with Florida ranking number one.
It reports while flight bookings are down 66 percent compared to last year, hot spots include Florida, Arizona, Nevada, Mexico and the Caribbean. All are known as Covid-19 hot spots still struggling to flatten the curve. Twelve percent of all Labor Day flight reservations include a trip to the Sunshine State, with Orlando, Tampa, and Fort Lauderdale landing in the top 25 travel destinations. Fort Myers jumped 59 spots, up from No. 88 in 2019 to No. 29 this year.
Other top destinations include the always-popular Miami and Panama City in North Florida.
The data comes despite travel recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to stay home. TripIt found roughly six million Americans plan on flying, which brings new concerns of rolling back progress against the virus. The CDC lists the Sunshine State as having the second highest total number of COVID-19 cases in the country.
Currently, Florida does not require showing a negative test to enter the state.
Experts say it’s even more of a reason to be vigilant, wear a mask and follow social distancing guidelines to protect you and others.
“Travel has changed a lot in the past few months. Many Americans still want to take advantage of summer vacations but have had to plan their trips around new factors beyond price and timing,” says Kelly Soderlund, TripIt’s travel trends expert. “As Labor Day weekend approaches, we’ve seen travelers who are open to flying opt for different locations than they did last year. This year’s data reveals a flavor for beachy locations, with Florida, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Hawaii representing the biggest increases in rank year over year.”
Survey software provider Qualtrics conducted a study in April that found 75% of Americans didn’t feel comfortable flying on an airplane at the time. But millions of Americans are tired of being locked down by the pandemic.
The Qualtrics study asked travelers what they needed to feel comfortable boarding an airplane, and the top three responses were mandatory masks, seating spaced six feet apart, and pre-boarding temperature checks. Some airports, airlines, and hotels have started to make these practices part of their standard protocol.
With a ban on foreign travelers still in place in many countries, most international travel is out of the question for Americans. Among the cities that saw the largest drops for bookings were Tokyo and Frankfurt.
Hawaii, Mexico, and the Caribbean are also seeing big year-over-year increases for travel this coming holiday weekend. Cancun shows one of the largest increases in popularity, up 28 spots, from No. 37 to ninth place.
Melissa DaSilva, guided vacation company Trafalgar’s president, recommends travelers start a bucket list for their travel destinations now so that way they may become a reality in 2021.