Summer travel searches are heating up, with searches up as much as 70 percent month over month (as of the last seven days). As pent-up demand for travel takes flight, KAYAK is releasing its ‘Return to Travel’ Hacker Guide focused on where to go as restrictions ease. Whether you’ve been living the digital nomad lifestyle for the last year or it’s your first trip since the pandemic started, KAYAK’s 2021 Travel Hacker Guide aims to help you navigate where to go, what’s open and how to craft that perfect out-of-office message for some much-needed time away.
But, planning your first trip in over a year can be stressful, so KAYAK created a “Matchmaker Quiz” that pairs you with a destination on this year’s Travel Hacker Guide based on factors like how many vacation days you have and which trip you were most bummed to cancel in 2020. Travelers will be matched with destinations from one of three lists: the top 10 destinations accepting vaccinated travelers (hello vaxication!), top 10 recommendations if you’re flying solo (we know there are some of you out there) and top 10 picks to finally take that group trip that has been delayed for over a year.
On top of that, travel conditions are constantly changing (hint: recent reopening news is causing searches for destinations in Europe to spike and demand is leading to major rental car price surges). To help travelers keep a pulse on this, the guide also includes destinations seeing emerging signs of interest, where to fly for a deal and prices on hotel stays and rental cars.
“In the last couple of days, we’ve seen a huge surge in rental car searches and prices compared to 2019, particularly in outdoorsy spots like Florida, Alaska, Montana, and Hawaii,” said Matt Clarke, Vice President of North America Marketing at KAYAK. “If you’re considering one of these destinations for your next trip, we recommend booking your rental car about two months in advance before prices start to increase.”
Key highlights from this year’s guide include:
- The Caribbean is calling all Vaxicationers. Looking at the last 7 days, the Caribbean is showing great signs of recovery with travel search interest down only 16 percent compared to the same in 2019, likely due to eased restrictions for vaccinated U.S. travelers announced earlier than most places. In fact, out of the top 10 most searched for destinations open to U.S. tourists, five are within the Caribbean including Cancun, Punta Cana, Montego Bay, Aruba and The Bahamas.
- Solo travelers are headed South. Despite the pandemic, interest in solo travel is still top of mind for many with 68 percent of searches for solo travel in the first three months of 2021, particularly to South America. This is likely due to eased restrictions and wallet friendly airfare prices, which are down 14 percent over the last 7 days (4.27 – 5.3) compared to the same time period in 2019 – the cheapest of any region. Cartagena, Lima and Medellin in particular are attracting the largest number of solo travelers with at least 80% of flight searches for one person to all three cities.
- Group travel is booming. Whether it’s your group of best friends or a family of 3+, groups are reuniting in places with sun, sand and warm weather – not to mention plenty of outdoor activities. Las Vegas, Orlando and Honolulu are among the most searched for destinations for parties of three or more.
- Americans are eager to travel overseas. Recent news that vaccinated American tourists will likely be able to visit the EU this summer caused travel searches on KAYAK to spike indicating Americans are eager for borders to reopen and travel overseas. Even prior to the news, some European destinations were starting to pop, European destinations that saw the biggest spike in searches month over month for travel anytime include Dubrovnik (searches up 205 percent), Zurich (searches up 167 percent), Prague (searches up 144 percent) and Reykjavik (searches up 143 percent).
- KAYAK has teamed up with Veritas to provide frictionless access to at-home COVID-19 testing kits for international travelers at preferred pricing.
The company also updated its out-of-office generator to get you off the couch and into vacation mode. Simply input answers like why you’re traveling, your cocktail of choice and how often you will be checking email (i.e. are you completely disconnected and loving it or checking in occasionally?) and KAYAK will auto generate a fun out-of-office response to match the vibe of your upcoming trip.
For a full list of destinations in this year’s ‘Return to Travel’ Hacker Guide, check out the guide here: https://www.kayak.com/travelhacker.
KAYAK, part of Booking Holdings (NASDAQ: BKNG), is the world’s leading travel search engine. With billions of queries across our platforms, we help people find their perfect flight, stay, rental car, cruise, or vacation package. We’re also transforming the in-travel experience with our app and new accommodation software. For more information, visit www.KAYAK.com.