Here are the top travel destinations for Christmas and New Year



FILE – In this archive photo of Friday, April 30, 2021, visitors leave the Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland in Anaheim, California (Photo AP / Jae C. Hong, file)

(NEXSTAR) – An estimated 109 million Americans will travel out of town between Christmas and New Year’s Day this year. According to AAA, this is 34% more than last year.

Unlike last year, when many destinations had strict COVID protocols and the vaccine was less accessible, more Americans are expected to visit places with warm temperatures and destinations with heavy theme parks.

From the booking data up to October, AAA has found the 11 most popular travel spots for the 2021 holiday season. At the top of the list are Orlando, Florida, and Anaheim, California, Disney’s headquarters. World and Disneyland, respectively.

Other major destinations include:

  • Lwith Vegas
  • New York
  • Maui
  • Honolulu
  • Miami
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Tampa, Florida
  • Phoenix
  • San Diego

In December 2020, when health care workers and older Americans began receiving the first administered doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, many of these popular travel sites had various safety protocols. While many of these restrictions have been lifted, some remain in place. California, for example, has just reinstated its inner mask mandate until Jan. 15.

Last year, California recommended quarantine people out of state for 14 days when they reached the golden state. In addition, hotels could not accept out-of-state reservations for non-essential travel unless the reservation was for the minimum quarantine period. Disneyland didn’t even reopen until April of this year after closing its doors in March 2020.

Across Florida, Disney World opened in late 2020. At that time, guests had to wear masquerades, undergo temperature checks, and make a reservation before visiting any of the parks. This year, reservations are still needed during the holidays and until 2022.

In 2020, travelers to New York had to take a COVID test within 72 hours before arriving in the state. Regardless of the outcome of the test, visitors had to be quarantined for three days upon arrival and re-tested for COVID on the fourth day. If both tests were negative, the passenger could be out of quarantine.

This is not necessary this year. However, New York visitors should pack some masks. On Dec. 13, Gov. Kathy Hochul ordered New York companies to require the use of a mask or to implement a vaccine warrant.

Last year, Hawaii required everyone traveling to the islands to get a negative COVID test 72 hours before departure, or else they would have to be quarantined on arrival. Kauai went even further: forcing visitors to quarantine for 14 days, regardless of the negative COVID test. This year, fully vaccinated travelers heading to Hawaii will not have to take a COVID or self-quarantine test.

Travelers were not restricted to Nevada in 2020, but meetings were. During Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, meetings were limited to 25% of the capacity and everyone wore masks. For the 2021 holiday, some capacity guidelines are maintained throughout Nevada and masks are required in most counties, regardless of vaccination status, in indoor public spaces.

If you are traveling on holiday or in public, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing a mask, washing your hands frequently, and avoiding high concentrations.

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