Bah, Humbug Omicron! Despite the grinch-y variant, more than 109 million Americans will dash away to domestic destinations this holiday, says a AAA holiday travel survey.
This year’s travel volume – 34% higher than last year – makes up for 2020s cancelled getaways and get-togethers with family and friends, said AAA Northeast.
This year’s dramatic bounce-back with nearly 28 million more people traveling between December 23 and January brings overall travel volume to 92% of the 2019 pre-pandemic level.
“We’re making up for lost time,” said Fran Mayko, AAA Northeast spokeswoman. “With vaccines widely available, travel conditions are very much different. Just like travel over Thanksgiving, folks are feeling greater levels of comfort. So, lead the way, Rudolph!”
Of the overall 109.5 million travelers, the survey reports:
- 100 million 92% will drive, a 28% increase over last year,
- 6.4 million or 6% will fly, a whopping 184% increase, and
- Nearly 3 million or 3% will take some other mode of transportation — trains, buses, and cruises – including one traveler who’ll make a round-the-world journey by sleigh on the night of December 24. These numbers reflect a whopping 199% increase compared to last year
Topping this year’s destination lists are trips to warm climates. Family vacations to theme parks in Orlando and Anaheim, followed by trips to Las Vegas, New York City, Hawaii, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Phoenix, and San Diego top the list of AAA bookings.
Travelers should also expect to pay more with airfares, hotel rates and car rentals this year. During Christmas week, airfares are up an average of 5% compared to last year; mid-range hotel rates have increased 36% and car rental rates are up 20%. Travel prices over New Year’s are even higher, said AAA.