May 24, 2021
As of April 6th, 2021, nearly 1 in 4 US adults are fully vaccinated and an average of 3.1 million doses of the COVID vaccine are being administered daily. The rollout of the vaccine, relaxed travel guidelines from the CDC, a pent-up demand for freedom and an appetite for travel are all contributing factors to the sudden peak in travel confidence and surge in bookings across the travel sector.
Seniors Leading the Way
Seniors over 65 years were first in line to receive the vaccination and, according to the CDC, by April 4th approximately 75% of US citizens over the age of 65 had received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine. For senior citizens, this gives reassurance they are protected from the worst effects of the coronavirus and can move around more freely. A recent survey by Virtuoso, a global network of travel agencies, shows that older people are more likely to travel than any other age group with 89% of respondents over the age of 56 ready to travel in 2021.
Dana Storr, owner of Luxami Travel, based in Rancho Palos Verdes, California has seen an increase in senior travel, “There’s definitely a big bump in interest. Starting at the end of January, I started hearing from my older clientele, saying, ‘We’re getting the vaccine next week,’ and then, ‘We’ve now gotten our second shot.’ There’s this appetite to just go.”
Vaccinated seniors are ready to travel and 74% plan to travel more than ever before. Our senior citizens are at a higher risk of the virus, many have been in lockdown alone, away from friends, missing family, and anxious about the post-pandemic future. Dreams of travel, family, freedom, and wide-open spaces are now a reality and vaccinated seniors have the confidence to book their post-vaccination travels. This is creating a wave of what travel gurus are calling a ‘vaxication” (a combination of vacation and vaccine).
Top US Destinations for Safe Travel
One trend that isn’t changing is the demand for a safe, outdoor travel destination with open spaces, outdoor activities, and easy social distancing. While some travelers are 100% optimistic, senior travelers tend to err on the side of caution and safety is a top priority when choosing a vacation destination.
Mountain and beach destinations are still the #1 travel destinations for 2021 and demand for the summer months is high. The majority of US travelers are still opting for drive-to-destinations but air travel is surging, confidence is growing and while 2021 may not see a full travel recovery, the industry is gearing up for an exciting wave of summer vaxications.
Optimistic Travel Statistics
We all knew the vaccine was key to restoring travel confidence, and it is! The stats show we’re ready to hit the road again (and the skies!)
Rental demand is high and some property managers are already reporting occupancy levels of 97% through Labor day. Annie Blatz is the sales manager for three branches of Kinlin Grover Vacation Rentals, the largest rental agency on the Cape. She says, “On Cape Cod, Massachusetts demand is very high for home rentals and it’s led to an extreme shortage of available rentals, exacerbated by some property owners taking their homes off the market so they can “move into their second homes because they think the Cape is safer and they can work remotely from here.”
- Plane travel remains relatively low compared to 2019, however, things are looking up. More travelers passed through US airports on Friday 2 April 2021 than any day since March 2020.
- Delta now connects to over 20 mountain and beach destinations with new routes and expanded services. There are 9 brand new routes, expanded services on existing routes, and service to four Caribbean markets will resume. You can fly to nearly every major national park in the West and travel to your beach vacation destination with ease.
- United Airlines announced it is hiring an additional 300 pilots as the vaccination rate and demand for travel increases and travel rebound begins.
- Southwest Airlines are offering new services to Florida’s Destin-Fort Walton Beach and Montana’s Bozeman Yellowstone airports and are expanding their existing flight services to meet passenger demand for the summer.
- A Deloitte Consumer Report on the perception of travel safety reports that traveler confidence and intentions have hit the pandemic high mark and show positive recovery in the travel sector.
- Luxury cruise operators and resort executives recently told the New York Times that bookings are trending up and being fueled by seniors with the reassurance that all cruise passengers will be fully vaccinated. Crystal Cruises told Travel Weekly that 4,000 cabins were booked within 24 hours of its itineraries going on sale on March 18, the biggest booking day in company history.
The trends remain the same among vacation rentals, cruise lines, tour operators, and air travel, seniors are eager to travel, hopping on planes and leading the way in vaxications.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Current Guidelines
The CDC provides clear recommendations on what life can look like for those fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and it appears that the vaccination will be our passport to travel freely.
- The CDC recommends delaying travel until you’re fully vaccinated and advises against non-essential travel. If travel is required you are advised to self-quarantine and get tested on returning home.
- Fully vaccinated Americans can resume domestic travel two weeks after the 2nd You do not need to take a coronavirus test before travel or quarantine after. Safety protocols and guidelines are to be adhered to at all times (mask mandates, social distancing, hand washing)
- Fully vaccinated Americans can travel internationally without taking a COVID-19 test beforehand unless the country of destination requires it. A negative covid test is required prior to boarding a return flight to the US, a further test must be done 3 to 5 days after return and no quarantine is required.
There is no proof you cannot spread the virus if you’ve had the vaccination and it is still early days! So please, be cautious, do your travel research for your destination, social distance and do all you can to limit exposure and keep yourself, loved ones, and those around you safe.