Three sun and sand spots – California, Florida, and Hawaii – account for a quarter or more of all flights and car rentals this weekend.
Erik Isakson | tetra images | Getty Images
As people head into the July 4 long weekend, travel bookings are finally approaching pre-pandemic levels, according to a new analysis from Concur’s TripIt, and it is largely the warm-weather coastal destinations that attract vacationers.
“Airports, roads and accommodations are looking more and more like pre-pandemic ‘normal’,” said Jen Moyse, senior product manager at TripIt. “Bookings in TripIt for July 4 show an 85% recovery for car rentals and a 64% recovery for accommodation.”
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(However, domestic flights only reached 51% of 2019 booking levels, although they were up 146% from last year. International flights, unsurprisingly, only reached 29% of 2019 levels.)
Why the relative rise?
“The vaccines made travelers more confident,” Moyse said, noting that more than half of American travelers polled by TripIt in April said getting the vaccine themselves was their main requirement to feel comfortable about fly again.
The travel company found that three sunny and sandy locations – California, Florida and Hawaii – accounted for a quarter or more of all flights and car rentals this weekend.
“TripIt bookings show that these famous beach destinations have been popular since Labor Day weekend 2020 as travelers have flocked to warmer weather,” Moyse said. “Whether it’s a vitamin D supplement or outdoor activities where social distancing is easier, travel to the coast has been a staple of pandemic travel.
Americans seem to be staying away from home a little longer now once they decide to hit the road, TripIt has found. The average stay in motels, hotels and resorts is now 4.11 days, up from 3.23 in 2019, and stays in vacation rentals are even longer, averaging 5.83 days, compared to 4.12 days two years ago.
“Compared to 2019, travelers stay about one more day in hotels and almost two more days in vacation rentals,” Moyse said.
“Vacation rentals have been palatable to some during the pandemic given the privacy they offer and the safety from crowds,” she added. “These are also convenient accommodation options in remote locations that don’t have as many hotels.”
And, while almost all travelers, 97%, were away seven days or less in 2019, more than 15% will stay for more than a week in 2021 – a six-fold increase.
Accommodation and vacation rental bookings select slightly different destinations, according to TripIt. (See table.) Although destinations vary, travelers are staying longer in hotels and rental properties.
“While top destinations for hotels include big cities like Las Vegas and New York, vacation rentals offer destinations a little more off the beaten track – places like Anchorage, Alaska and Kihei, Hawaii,” he said. declared Moyse.
You can find more information on TripIt’s discoveries and a list of its 25 best July 4th destinations on its website.