NASHVILLE, Tenn., (March 14, 2023) – Travel bookings for 2023 are off to a very strong start and that is reflected in a new survey from AAA. According to the Auto Club Group, 79% of Tennesseans plan to travel this year. That’s significantly higher than the 62% in 2022.
AAA is also citing a big jump in travel during spring break. According to the report, 31% of Tennesseans are planning a spring break vacation. That’s up from 21% last year.
“AAA expects one of the busiest spring break travel seasons in years,” said Debbie Haas, Vice President of Travel for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Previous spring travel seasons were affected by COVID-19. However, Americans are largely more confident about traveling again, and AAA has seen very strong bookings for beach destinations, cruises, and attractions.”
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 have also seen a spike in popularity.
International Travel Surges
AAA travel bookings show a 30% spike in international Spring Break bookings compared to last year. Travelers looking for warm weather are flocking to the Caribbean and Mexico or sailing to tropical destinations while enjoying the amenities of a cruise vacation. Additionally, Americans are taking advantage of the strong U.S. dollar and the exchange rate in Europe.
Top Spring Break Destinations
USA Hot Spots
New York City
Cancun and Riviera Maya
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Montego Bay, Jamaica
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Papua New Guinea
AAA Inspector Pro Tips: Spring Break
AAA Diamonds Inspectors know a thing or two about travel. They log thousands of miles every year, inspecting hotels and restaurants, verifying the 4Cs of AAA Diamonds: Cleanliness, Comfort, Cuisine, and Consistency.
Here are first-person pro tips from AAA Inspectors on Spring Break travel:
“My family and I always spend a little extra time before we travel, researching excursions or day trips at our destination. If we’re going skiing, we look for snow mobile tours or local hot springs. For beach trips, we research snorkeling excursions, sightseeing tours, or dinner cruises.”
“Research local events at your vacation destination. There might be a festival, concert, or other fun activity to experience!”
“I never book a non-refundable rate because those few dollars saved are lost if changes or cancellations must be made.”
“Ask for a room away from elevators (where people can congregate), at the end of the corridors (for less traffic), and on a top floor (to avoid noise from people above you).”
Last-Minute Spring Break Ideas
Twenty-two percent of Tennesseans 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 agents 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.
Travel Insurance is a ‘Must Have’ This Year
Severe weather spoiled many spring breakers’ travel plans last year, by causing widespread flight delays and cancellations. Because of that, 45 percent of Tennesseans are likely to purchase travel insurance. AAA encourages anyone traveling this year to consider travel insurance, which can provide compensation for expenses associated with flight delays and cancellations. There are also options that provide a refund if you must cancel your trip.
The AAA Consumer Pulse Survey was conducted online among residents living in Tennessee from January 27 – February 2, 2023. A total of 400 residents completed the survey. Survey results asked of all respondents have a maximum margin of error of ± 4.9% points. Responses are weighted by age and gender to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the adult population (18+) in Tennessee.