Editors: B-Roll of top 2023 travel destinations is available here for your use, along with B-Roll of Hawaii and Mexico vacations.
Following extreme winter weather in many parts of the country and after three years of the COVID-19 pandemic, Auto Cub travel advisors are seeing new trends when it comes to travel this spring break.
More Americans are heading out of the country for their annual spring trips. AAA booking data shows international travel this season is up 30% over 2022. Many families are also taking multigenerational vacations. A new AAA survey shows more than 40% of U.S. adults with spring break plans are traveling with three generations.
“Families are making up for lost time,” said Auto Club Vice President of Travel Products and Services Heather Felix. “In addition to seeing grandparents traveling with their adult children and grandkids, we are also seeing an increase in international spring break bookings, since most travel restrictions have been lifted. Americans are also taking advantage of the strong U.S. dollar and the exchange rate in Europe.”
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 main islands and stunning scenery. AAA tour partner Pleasant Holidays reports bookings for Hawaiian hotels and cruises are popular this year, as many travelers are opting for warm weather beach destinations. For spring breakers on the West Coast, popular Southern California vacation spots like San Diego, Anaheim and Palm Springs, along with Arizona and national parks are favorite destinations.
Cruising is making a big splash this year as well. 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 are also seeing a spike in popularity.
Top Spring Break Destinations
- Cancun and Riviera Maya
- Mexico City
- Nassau, Bahamas
- Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
- Montego Bay, Jamaica
- San Juan, Puerto Rico
- Paris, France
- London, England
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Rome, Italy
- Barcelona, Spain
- Papua New Guinea
- Danube River
USA Hot Spots
- Las Vegas
- New York City
- San Francisco
- New Orleans
Higher Spring Break Travel Costs Expected
Travel this spring break is expected to be more expensive than last year. Domestic airfare will be at least 20% to 25% higher. Hotel rates are expected to be at least 20% to 30% more than in 2022, and possibly even higher for accommodations in warm and popular beach destinations. To help save money on spring break vacations this year, Auto Club travel advisors recommend the following:
- Visit local or close to home destinations
- Book as early as possible
- Purchase mid-week flights and avoid return air travel on Sundays
- Ask about all-inclusive packages
- Explore cruises to save money on meals and hotels
- Use a travel advisor
- Visit a state that has a different spring break schedule for less crowds and savings
- Consider travel insurance
Last-Minute Spring Break Ideas
Fourteen percent of U.S. adults 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. Auto Club travel advisors 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 ahead. AAA travel advisors 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.
Other Travel Tips to Save Time and Trouble
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 Diamond properties: Cleanliness, Comfort, Cuisine, and Consistency. Their tips include:
- Before you go, research excursions, day trips and local events at your destination
- Verify hotel reservations by calling the front desk the day before arrival
- Don’t book non-refundable hotel rates 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)
Preventing roadside breakdowns
Analysis of AAA roadside assistance data reveals that millions of roadside breakdowns each year could be prevented with basic vehicle maintenance. To prevent vehicle trouble on your spring break or summer road trip, drivers are encouraged to inspect the following a week before trips:
Tires: Check the tire pressure and the tire tread. Don’t forget to check the spare tire, too, if you have one. Get new tires if your tread is worn.
Battery: To avoid a dead battery, get it checked to make sure it is charged. Car batteries generally last two to five years, so definitely get it checked if it’s more than a year old.
Brakes: Have the brake pads, rotors, drums, and brake fluid all checked. Brake problems are important to avoid because they could cause a safety issue.
Transmission: Check the transmission and the transmission fluid. This is especially important if the car has any odd sounds when in neutral or leaks.
Engine: Make sure the engine is performing properly. It is imperative to get it checked if the “check engine” light is on. Check the oil and get an oil change if it is close to being time. A hot engine in the summertime needs all its oil.
Steering and suspension: Check the steering, the suspension, the ball joints, and the tie rods.
Cooling system: Check the whole cooling system. That includes the radiator, belts, hoses, cooling fans, heater core, water pump, and coolant.
Air conditioning: Check the air conditioner to make sure it works properly and has enough refrigerant. Not only is this important for your comfort on a long drive, but also the belt that powers the air conditioning often also powers other parts, including the water pump that keeps the engine from overheating.