Driven by Disney's 2 theme parks, Southern California and Orlando top 2 holiday destinations
According to AAA, this holiday season Americans who had to cancel getaways and get-togethers last year because of the pandemic are making up for lost time. More than 109 million people -- an almost 34% increase from 2020 -- will travel 50 miles or more as they hit the road, board airplanes or take other transportation out of town between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2, 2022.
That dramatic bounce-back -- 27.7 million more people traveling -- will bring this year's numbers to 92% of 2019 levels. Airlines will see a 184% increase from last year.
"Americans who canceled their vacations in 2020 want to gather with family and friends for the holidays this year, although they will still be mindful of the pandemic and the new omicron variant," said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel. "With vaccines widely available, conditions are much different and many people feel a greater level of comfort with travel."
Road trips remain the top mode of travel, AAA reports, with more than 100 million people planning to drive to their destinations despite gas costing $1.25 per gallon more than a year ago. More than 6 million people are expected to travel by air; 3 million people are booking buses, trains and cruises, AAA reports.
Americans are primarily traveling to warmer climates this holiday season, primarily to where theme parks and resort type destinations are located.
The greatest number of bookings is for travel to Anaheim and Orlando -- home to Disneyland and Walt Disney World, respectively.
The difference is that for those heading to Florida, they'll experience little to no restrictions compared to those traveling to California. There are no interstate travel restrictions in Florida, compared to indoor masking and other restrictions in place in California, AAA notes.