Memorial Day is going to prove to be a bit different for all of us than in previous years thanks to the pandemic still knocking on our doors. In fact, AAA projects that travel will increase now that an increasing number of Americans are getting inoculated. The auto club expects more than 37 million people to travel at least 50 miles from home during the holiday weekend, an increase of 60% from last year, which was the lowest since AAA began keeping records in 2000. So that will make some things a bit different for us on Memorial Day 2021. AMERiders has more.
Fourteen months into the coronavirus pandemic, people are yearning to travel, especially now that more than 119 million Americans are fully vaccinated against the deadly virus and have more flexibility on wearing masks. If you plan to travel by car and prefer to avoid the rush, be aware of traveling at peak times in a lot of U.S. metropolitan areas.
Delays will be widespread, AAA predicts, but drivers in several major U.S. metros could experience double the travel times compared to a normal trip. Drivers in Atlanta, Houston and New York could see more than three times the delay on the busiest corridors.
Here’s another question: Is it safe to travel? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated its guidance to state that fully vaccinated people can travel domestically at low risk to themselves.
Vaccinated or not, travelers should take the proper precautions and heed a few tips before they hit the road:
- Plan ahead. Check with state and local authorities where you are, along your route, and at your planned destination to learn about local circumstances and any restrictions that may be in place.
- Minimize stops along the way. Pack meals, extra snacks, and drinks in addition to an emergency roadside kit.
- Follow public health guidance and new mask guidance. If you’re unvaccinated, wear face masks and remember to socially distance as before. Wash your hands regularly and be sure to pack disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer (in accordance with however your traveling).
- Check with your hotel. Prior to any hotel stay, call ahead to ask what precautions it is taking and what requirements are in place to protect guests.
For other helpful travel guidance from AAA, visit the organization’s COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map for the latest state and local travel restrictions. You can also use TripTik.AAA.com to plan your road trip and help determine which rest stops, gas stations, restaurants, and hotels are open along your route.
Were are they heading to Memorial day 2021
“Memorial Day 2021 is going to be the first real big holiday that is coming up on the horizon,” said Lior Sekler, vice president of revenue management at the hotel management company HRI Lodging. “Between that and Fourth of July, we expect those two holidays to really show some really spectacular demand.”
Specifics of that demand have shifted because of the pandemic. While the vaccine has given Americans the confidence to travel again, things aren’t back to normal yet. At this time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said it is safe for fully vaccinated people to travel, but it is also still advising folks to stay home as most of the country remains unvaccinated and variant risks remain high. Those who do travel still need to mask up and practice social distancing, even if they are vaccinated.
With such considerations in mind, travelers appear to be choosing open spaces and nature over dense urban environments. Airbnb bookings show travelers are increasingly planning trips to off-the-beaten-path locations, with searches for remote destinations in the U.S. up by nearly 40 percent just this past month. But places easing restrictions are also capturing Memorial Day business between their palm trees and partying opportunities.
So where are they traveling to during this holiday?
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announced via Twitter that the state aims to reopen 100 percent by June and will remove its social distancing mandate by May 1. Las Vegas is also luring travelers with severely discounted room rates, particularly during the week. Sekler recommended that if possible, Memorial Day travelers shift their vacation to start on Wednesday to capitalize on the hospitality industry’s severe need for weekday business.
Without any entry restrictions, Mexico has remained the most popular international destination for American travelers throughout the pandemic. According to Skyscanner data, Cancún was the most booked international flight destination for Memorial Day weekend this year.
Dave Hershberger, owner of the Travel Leaders affiliate agency Prestige Travel, said the vast majority of his Mexico bookings for clients are to Cancún, with Cabo and the Riviera Maya following in demand.
Americans traveling to Mexico, or other popular international destinations such as the Caribbean, need to remember that they will have to comply with testing requirements for returning to the U.S. Testing positive before your flight home will mean staying abroad longer, among other complications.
Skyscanner and Priceline data show Orlando and Miami are among the top destinations for Memorial Day flights and hotels. Florida is continuing to pull in tourists with its beaches and limited coronavirus restrictions. Sekler said the state has been the leader for hotel occupancy, with Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and Orlando drawing the most travelers.
After Hawaii reopened to tourism last year, the state has become an increasingly popular travel destination for Americans.
Scott Keyes, founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights and author of “Take More Vacations,” says early-summer flight searches to Hawaii’s Big Island are 51 percent higher right now than for the same week in 2019. Major airlines such as Southwest, Delta, and United have been adding new flights to the islands to meet that growing demand.
While national parks have always been hallmarks for summer vacations, trip requests have been through the roof in 2021, Hershberger said.
Cynthia Hernandez, a spokeswoman for the National Park Service, recommended finding a park that is closer to home or an alternative to the most popular options to have a better chance at avoiding crowds. Before you go, download the NPS app to access interactive maps, take self-guided tours, and find important information like road closures and entry restrictions.
State Department Notice
The State Department said Monday that it would start updating its travel advisories this week to drastically increase the number of countries that get the “Level 4: Do Not Travel” designation.
In a statement, the department said roughly 80 percent of countries worldwide would soon be marked at the highest warning level. As of Monday afternoon, about 16 percent of countries had that label.
On Monday, Greece started to allow U.S. citizens back with a negative coronavirus test or proof of vaccination. And United Airlines announced new flights to Greece, Iceland and Croatia starting in July.
The CDC said earlier this month that fully vaccinated people can travel at low risk. But officials also said they still did not recommend travel because of rising cases in the United States and globally.
“Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread covid-19,” the website says. “However, international travel poses additional risks and even fully vaccinated travelers are at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading new COVID-19 variants.”
We at AMERiders would like to remind our readers that:
Memorial Day is way more than just BBQs, burgers, and beer, but that doesn’t mean we should feel guilty for joining friends and family for a great weekend. By all means, be with your loved ones, and raise a glass.
AMERiders honors the members of the military who have fallen in during service to the United States. Both Men and women throughout history have died on battlefields, making the ultimate sacrifice during combat operations in support of the mission, their allies, and their brothers and sisters in arms.
Please be careful during Memorial Day 2021 this year and stay safe.
Anthony S. Fauci, the government’s leading infectious disease expert, told Axios that the public is misinterpreting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s announcement last week that fully vaccinated people can go without masks indoors.
“I think people are misinterpreting, thinking that this is a removal of a mask mandate for everyone. It’s not,” he told Axios. “It’s an assurance to those who are vaccinated that they can feel safe, be they outdoors or indoors.”
Fauci emphasized that the health agency did not explicitly tell unvaccinated people to go without masks but instead communicated to vaccinated individuals that they won’t get infected indoors or outdoors.
“People either read them quickly or listen and hear half of it. They are feeling that we’re saying: ‘You don’t need the mask anymore.’ That’s not what the CDC said,” he told the news outlet.
~And as always…
~Live Free Ride Hard~
Let AMERiders give you information on how Memorial Day 2021 Will Be a Bit Different Than Previous Years
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source….various newspapers, and websites