If you haven’t booked your summer travel plans yet, companies like Expedia, American Airlines and the auto club group AAA, confirm the time is now.  All three have indicated an increase in demand for travel services like cruises, tours, hotel stays and flights.

“We’re seeing a ton of demand,” Expedia Group CEO Peter Kern told Yahoo Finance Live. “Lots of demand domestically [and] lots of demand internationally.”

American Airlines CEO Robert Isom concurred. “We see a strong demand environment this summer and we’re highly confident that will continue going forward,” he told analysts. “If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us, it’s that people innately desire to travel.”

 “Travel demand has come roaring back this summer and we’re already seeing large crowds at popular domestic and international travel destinations,” said Debbie Haas, Vice President of Travel for AAA, which has recognized same-sex couples since 2009. “The recent decision to lift all international travel restrictions will only add to demand,” Haas continues. “So, we encourage travelers to do their research and [consider] a travel expert. They can help you find the best value on a vacation.”

More than Half of North Carolinians Plan to Take a Summer Vacation

According to a new travel survey released by AAA, 83 percent of North Carolinians will travel this year. More than half (64 percent) of them will take a summer vacation. However, less than a quarter (21 percent) of summer travelers have finalized their plans. 

The most popular vacations they’re planning are beach destinations (62%); large cities and major metro destinations (29%); theme parks (24%); all-inclusive resorts (17%); and national and state park tourist sites (17%).

Top Summer Traveler Stats and Travel Tips

As many as 87 percent plan to take a road trip. If that’s your plan, leave early. Expect congestion near beaches and attractions, particularly on weekends and holidays. Traditionally, gas prices peak in the spring and fluctuate through the summer. Unfortunately, an estimated 18 percent will not get a vehicle inspection before their road trip. Take the time to look for a mechanic you trust to make sure your wheels are road ready.

Up to 27 percent plan to take a commercial flight. To reduce the likelihood of flight delays or cancellations, book a non-stop flight that leaves early in the morning. Arrive at the airport at least two hours early.

Eight percent plan to take a cruise. Summertime sailings are filling up so fast many travelers are looking at summer 2024 departures to find the itinerary they want.More than 25 percent plan to rent a car. Rental car availability has improved, yet inventory is likely to be tight at airports. Rates are often more expensive the closer you get to your desired rental date, so book early for the best combination of availability and price. AAA offers members up to 20 percent off base rates at Hertz car rental locations.

International travel bookings are up more than 200 percent compared to 2022. Ensure your passport is up to date. Strong demand and pandemic-related backlogs have led to passport processing delays. Wait times have increased from 8-11 weeks to 10-13 weeks. Check out the possibility of expediting services for U.S. passports and global travel visas with the government’s RushMyPassport program.

Keep in mind travel insurance is a must. There are a variety of reasons travelers should purchase it, including medical emergencies, flight cancellations, severe weather, or unexpected life events.

David Aaron Moore

David Aaron Moore is a former editor of Qnotes, serving in the role from 2003 to 2007. He is currently the senior content editor and a regularly contributing writer for Qnotes. Moore is a native of North...

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