Holiday travel to rebound almost to pre-pandemic levels

Local News

34% increase in total travel volume over last year

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Massachusetts residents who had to cancel getaways and get-togethers last year because of the pandemic are making up for lost time this holiday season.

More than 2.3 million people in Massachusetts, an increase from 1.7 million in 2020, will travel 50 miles or more away from home this year, during the holiday season between December 23 and January 2.

On a national scale, more than 109 million people — an almost 34% increase from 2020 — will hit the road, board airplanes or take other transportation out of town for leisure. 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.

“We’re going to have our family come to us. They’ll do the traveling, but they won’t have to come too far. So we’re all glad. We won’t have to worry about any accidents and traffic,” said Jeff Morin of Ludlow.

“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 Mary Maguire, Director of Public and Government Affairs at AAA Northeast. “With vaccines widely available, conditions are much different and many people feel a greater level of comfort with travel.”

Protect yourself — and your trip  

AAA urges anyone considering gathering or traveling for the holidays to consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance. It’s essential to know requirements and recommendations based on your vaccination status, where you’re traveling from and your destination.

A trusted travel advisor can provide advice, serving as an advocate before, during and after a trip. Their extensive knowledge and expertise allow them to help travelers with questions related to travel insurance options, what destinations and attractions are open both domestically and internationally, destination-specific testing and vaccination requirements, what to do if last-minute changes to a trip are needed and much more.

AAA’s COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map helps travelers understand closures, recommendations and requirements when traveling in the U.S. In addition, the CDC has an interactive map with recommendations and information about restrictions for international travel.

Masks are still required for everyone on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of U.S. public transportation and within transportation hubs such as airports and stations. The CDC also recommends everyone wear a mask indoors in public places in an area of substantial or high transmission.

Other things to consider:

  • Travel insurance — AAA highly recommends travel insurance to cover unexpected delays or trip interruptions. It is best to consult the expertise of a travel advisor who can guide you on the coverage options available for your specific trip, including if your destination requires visitors to carry travel insurance.
  • Clean accommodations — When booking a place to stay, look for accommodations that prioritize cleanliness and have implemented additional housekeeping standards since the start of the pandemic. Hotels that meet AAA standards for cleanliness earn AAA Diamond designations. Earlier this year, as part of the Diamond program, AAA enhanced its housekeeping evaluation, and inspections now include objective, scientific validation of the cleanliness of common surfaces throughout hotels. Hotels that have been inspected since that new testing started and now meet these new standards are recognized as Inspected Clean.
  • Domestic and international travel guidelines — When traveling within the U.S., fully vaccinated travelers do not need a negative viral test or to self-quarantine. For international travel, all air passengers, regardless of vaccination status or nationality, must show a negative COVID-19 viral test result taken no more than one day before travel into the U.S. Refer to the CDC for more information.

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