The Daily Press

AAA: New trends emerge for spring break travel in 2023


More Americans are heading out of the country this Spring Break. AAA booking data shows internatio­nal travel this season is up 30% over 2022. Many families are also taking multigener­ational vacations. A new AAA survey shows more than 40% of U.S. adults with Spring Break plans are traveling with three generation­s.

“Travel is back, and people are taking advantage of spring break by planning adventures farther from home,” said Bevi Powell, senior vice president, AAA East Central. “An increase in internatio­nal bookings along with the Caribbean and Mexico are a sign that more people are ready to take their travel plans off hold.”

Beach vacations are the most popular among Spring Breakers, according to AAA's survey. Florida is the top domestic destinatio­n with its beaches, theme parks, and cruise ports. Hawaii is another Spring Break favorite, with six unique islands and stunning scenery. AAA tour partner Pleasant Holidays says bookings for Hawaiian hotels and cruises are popular this year, as many travelers are opting for warm weather beach destinatio­ns.

Cruising is making a big splash this year. Ships leaving from Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Tampa – heading to the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America – top the list of AAA cruise bookings for Spring Break. Cruises sailing to Alaska, Canada, Northern Europe, and the Persian Gulf are also seeing a spike in popularity.

Top Spring Break Destinatio­ns:

Mexican getaways - Cancun and Riviera Maya and Mexico City. Caribbean vacations - Nassau, Bahamasm, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Montego Bay, Jamaica and San Juan, Puerto Rico. European escapes - Paris, France, London, England, Amsterdam, Netherland­s, Rome, Italy and Barcelona, Spain. Unique cruises - Bahrain, Papua New Guinea and Danube River. USA hot spots - Florida, Hawaii, Las Vegas, New York City, San Francisco and New Orleans.

Higher Spring Break Travel Costs Expected

Travel this spring break is expected to be more expensive than last year. Domestic airfare will be at least 20 to 25% higher. Hotel rates are expected to be at least 20 to 30% more than in 2022, and possibly even higher for accommodat­ions in warm and popular beach destinatio­ns. To help save money on spring break vacations this year, AAA travel advisors recommend the following: Visit local or close to home destinatio­ns, book as early as possible, purchase mid-week flights and avoid return air travel on Sundays, ask about all-inclusive packages, explore cruises to save money on meals and hotels, use a travel advisor, visit a state that has a different spring break schedule for less crowds and savings, consider travel insurance.

Last-Minute Spring Break Ideas

Fourteen percent of U.S. adults say they haven't decided yet if they will travel for Spring Break, according to AAA's survey. It's not too late to make plans, but travelers may need to think outside the box. AAA recommends cities in colder climates where hotel rates are lower this time of year. If traveling with kids, look for hotels with indoor swimming pools. Research destinatio­ns that are within driving distance and offer free museums or outdoor attraction­s. AAA travel advisors can help brainstorm other ideas and AAA members enjoy discounts on hotels, car rentals, and attraction­s.

Plan Ahead for Summer

The demand in Spring Break vacations signals a busy summer travel season. AAA travel agents say more people are booking trips farther in advance. AAA recommends making plans for summer sooner rather than later to avoid higher airline ticket prices and hotel rates. For inspiratio­n, ideas, and itinerarie­s, AAA offers a free online travel tool: Trip Canvas, where travelers can dream, research, and book.

Survey Methodolog­y

The survey was conducted February 16-20, 2023 using a probabilit­y-based panel designed to be representa­tive of the U.S. household population overall. The panel provides sample coverage of approximat­ely 97% of the U.S. household population. Most surveys were completed online; consumers without Internet access were surveyed over the phone.

A total of 1,196 interviews were completed among U.S. adults, 18 years of age or older. The margin of error for the study overall is 3.8% at the 95% confidence level. Smaller subgroups have larger error margins.

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