2021 Travel Hacker Guide Reveals Summer Trends and Hotspot Destinations

With COVID-19 vaccination efforts well underway and “herd immunity” visible on the horizon, Americans are optimistic about summer travel, as evidenced by a soaring number of internet searches.

Online travel company Kayak reports that summer travel searches are up as much as 70 percent, month over month, as pent-up travel demand is slowly being unleashed. In response, the metasearch engine has just released its ‘Return to Travel’ Hacker Guide to help prospective post-pandemic travelers figure out what summer hotspot destinations will best suit them as the world starts to reopen.


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Because trip planning can be overwhelming, Kayak even created a ‘Matchmaker Quiz’, which pairs users with one of the destinations featured in the 2021 Travel Hacker Guide after taking several factors into consideration, like how many vacation days they have available, which type of 2020 trip they were most bummed to cancel and what they spent their pandemic doing.

Travelers are matched with a domestic or international destination pulled from one of Kayak’s three “top 10” lists for 2021: the top 10 “vaxication” destinations (i.e., those accepting vaccinated travelers), top 10 spots for solo travelers and top 10 picks for that epic group getaway you’ve spent over a year yearning to take.

The Travel Hacker Guide is also staying on top of the world’s continually changing travel conditions, as reopenings and fresh lockdowns affect availability and demand. To keep travelers updated, the guide also lists the top-trending global destinations, detailing their increases seen in search volume, and the median costs of flights and hotel stays in each. The aim is to keep users abreast of emerging signs of interest in new locations and help them get a jump on deals for flights, hotel stays and car rentals.

For instance, “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.”

Highlights from this year’s Hacker Guide include:

The Caribbean Is Calling To Vaxicationers: Just in the past week, the Caribbean has shown great signs of recovery, with online travel searches only 16 percent below 2019 levels. Out of the top 10 most-searched-for destinations open to U.S. tourists, half are in the Caribbean: Cancun, Punta Cana, Montego Bay, Aruba and The Bahamas.

Solo Travelers Are Heading South: There is a good deal of interest in solo travel post-pandemic, with 68 percent of searches within the first three months of 2021 having been for solo travel experiences. South America emerged as a particularly sought-after destination, likely due to loosened travel restrictions and more affordable airfare prices. Cartagena, Lima and Medellin accounted for 80 percent of flight searches for a single passenger.

Group Travel Is Booming: Friends and family are looking to travel together or reunite in warm-weather and beach destinations that have plenty of available outdoor activities. Honolulu, Las Vegas and Orlando are among the most-searched-for destinations for groups of three or more.

Americans Are Eager To Go Overseas: The recent news that Europe will likely reopen to U.S. visitors by summer caused a spike in searches for travel to the Continent, indicating that Americans are eager for E.U. borders to reopen and Transatlantic travel to resume. Even prior to the announcement, searches for European destinations were heating up, with the biggest search increases month over month seen for spots like Dubrovnik, Croatia; Zurich, Switzerland; Prague, Czech Republic; and Reykjavik, Iceland.

For more information, visit kayak.com/travelhacker.

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