I don’t love hearing that travel is getting expensive again, but I didn’t love 2020 either.
As the pandemic continues to recede, Americans are eager to make up for lost time and travel during the spring break 2023 season. As someone currently residing in the newfound destination of Seattle, California, where it rains sideways every day all day, I am eager to hop on a flight to a warm, dry island, too.
The travel industry is expecting a surge in demand this year that’s not looking good for our bank accounts but is great for reminding us that the pandemic is in the rearview. More than 158 million passengers are predicted to travel, surpassing the pre-pandemic levels of 2019, according to Airlines for America. Meanwhile, TSA estimates the upcoming spring break season may even exceed pre-pandemic travel volumes.
The increase in travel means that airports will be busier, security lines longer, and planes fuller than in previous years. TSA is preparing for a rush of travelers and recommends that passengers arrive early, especially if they need to check a bag. That makes me wonder: for my three-week trip to Europe next month, can I possibly fit everything in a carry-on?!
While you may not be able to control the anticipated airport dramas this spring, you can at least take advantage of flight deals. Here’s what’s promising:
Fly roundtrip from Denver to Cabo this April for $275
Fly roundtrip from New York to St. Thomas this April for $298
Fly roundtrip from Los Angeles to The Bahamas this April for $399
Study reveals families are opting for Airbnbs over hotel stays
from The Navigator
I love Airbnbs, but as someone who typically travels with just my significant other, they’re not always necessary for me. In fact, the times I find myself prioritizing them are when I’m traveling with family or a group of friends. New research says I’m not the only one who feels this way.
According to new data from Airbnb, family travel is thriving. On their platform, it skyrocketed by 60% in 2022 compared to before the pandemic. Airbnb saw 15 million check-ins in nearly 90,000 destinations. Considering you can book a two-bedroom two-bath house per night for the same cost as one hotel room, the numbers make sense.
Another significant advantage of Airbnb for families is the access to a kitchen. Nearly 90% of Airbnb listings have kitchens, allowing families to save money by cooking instead of eating out for every meal.
Moreover, the experience is unique. You can choose a home with a yard so the kids can run wild. You can indulge in a pool you don’t have to share with other guests. And families can really unpack—staying for longer periods of time. In 2022, more than half of families stayed between two and six nights, while nearly half stayed for a week or longer. This flexibility allows families to plan their trip around their schedule, whether it’s a short weekend getaway or an extended family vacation.
So where are families going? Everywhere! Paris, France, London, United Kingdom, and Melbourne, Australia are just a few of the top destinations for family travel on Airbnb. Additionally, Airbnb offers families the opportunity to travel near and far with unique experiences. The top-booked categories for family travel in 2022 included amazing pools, beach destinations, skiing destinations, tropical destinations, and national parks. I just found a flight deal for $468 from Los Angeles to Finland, which had me wondering: If I was packing up the whole family for this epic trip, what Airbnb could I score to round out the most reasonable trip ever? I can get this stunning 3-bedrooms 2-bath cottage for $199 a night.
American Cruise Lines has announced that American Star departs from Florida on February 18, marking the opening of the line’s 2023 U.S. cruise season. The line is celebrating “Wave Season” by running more small ships from U.S. ports than ever before. The line begins this year’s season with two riverboats and two small ships setting sail along the East Coast from Florida and South Carolina, the West Coast from California, and the Mississippi River from Louisiana.
On the West Coast, American Jazz will embark along a historic cruise from San Francisco on February 24, 2023. Following the new eight-day “San Francisco Bay” itinerary, American Jazz will be the first U.S. riverboat in over 80 years to explore San Francisco Bay and the California Delta, cruising wine country along the Napa, Sacramento, and San Joaquin rivers.
On the East Coast, two of the company’s smallest cruise ships, the 90-passenger American Star and American Independence, depart February 18 and February 25, respectively. American Star will begin the season along the eight-day “Great Rivers of Florida” cruise, roundtrip from Jacksonville. A Sister ship, American Independence, will sail the line’s popular eight-day “Historic South & Golden Isles” itinerary between Charleston, South Carolina, and Amelia Island, Florida; exploring the country’s Gold Coast along the protected Intracoastal Waterway. The recently renovated American Heritage begins the 2023 season on the Mississippi River, following a classic eight-day “Lower Mississippi” itinerary from New Orleans to Memphis, departing February 25.
American Cruise Lines offers five new riverboats and 11 itineraries on the Mississippi alone in 2023 and has a growing fleet of new small ships and riverboats operating 50+ itineraries in 35 states this year.
American’s 2023 season continues to open around the country, with “Chesapeake Bay Cruises” in March; “Columbia and Snake Rivers” cruises and “Puget Sound Cruises” in April; “New England” cruises in May; “Alaska Cruises” in June; “Hudson River” cruises in September; and “Holiday Cruises” in November and December.
The company’s small ship cruises offer an all-inclusive experience and feature over 400 shore excursions. All the line’s itineraries include complimentary onboard enrichment and entertainment, fine cuisine, and a festive cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres each evening. American ships also include Starlink Wi-Fi. Cruise pricing 2023-24 for includes port charges and fees as well as tips and gratuities.
AMERICA’S MOST UNIQUE CITY……From Mardi Gras and Bourbon Street to the finest Creole and Cajun dining, New Orleans serves up a one-of-a-kind experience for clients. Knowing how to direct our clients to the unique experiences of the Big Easy is key to ensuring they have the best, most memorable vacation possible.
We are able to recommend a good orientation to the city and offer insights about the New Orleans sights and sounds.
NEW ORLEANS TASTES & TUNES….New Orleans wouldn’t be the city that it is without its unique dining scene and unsurpassed musical heritage. We are well-versed in culinary and music history and know where to access the city’s best current offerings. We will help you create a dining and musical experience that is nothing short of a masterpiece.
CRUISING NEW ORLEANS…Historic grace and modern cruising grandeur come together in one destination in New Orleans. Visitors to the city can take advantage of both experiences – an educated travel advisor makes the difference. We understand the history of cruising in New Orleans and are well-versed as to the newest opportunities for New Orleans-bound travelers.
DESTINATION WEDDINGS IN NEW ORLEANS…New Orleans is known as the “Paris of the South.” For centuries, couples have been saying ‘I do in New Orleans. Destination weddings in New Orleans are not just three-hour events, they are three-day plus celebrations with friends and family that will have guests talking about the big event for a long time.
GROUPS IN THE CRESCENT CITY….Groups heading to New Orleans will discover a city that welcomes them with two big open arms. There is so much to discover in the Crescent City, starting with its incredible heritage.
It is home to more National Historic Landmarks than any other city in the United States. Groups will explore a destination distinctively its own, whether it’s a walking tour of the historic French Quarter, including countless restaurants and fascinating architecture; discovering the Arts District, with its endless galleries; or shopping on Magazine Street, one of the oldest and most diverse shopping districts in the city.
NEW ORLEANS & BEYOND…There’s no disputing that New Orleans is a city filled with countless attractions and activities of its own. However, when clients head here and just stay within its environs then they are missing out on a host of excitement all within a radius of a two-hour drive.
Whether it’s a repeat visitor to New Orleans, or a first-timer looking for a longer stay, they won’t want to miss out on all there is to see and do beyond the city.
WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOUR CLIENT GOES…Welcome to New Orleans…where the motto of “Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler” (Let the Good Times Roll) sums up the celebratory atmosphere of the city while paying tribute to its French heritage. The Crescent City’s European and Caribbean influences date back more than 300 years and can be felt, seen, heard, and tasted in its music, architecture, and cuisines.
New Orleans is also proud to be a part of the great American South with historical architectural gems such as antebellum plantations along the Mississippi River and mansions in the Garden District, as well as a steamboat paddlewheel that harkens back to another time.
Visitors can stroll through New Orleans’ diverse neighborhoods, experience Mardi Gras, listen to jazz, eat Cajun favorites, shop for antiques, and embrace life the New Orleans way.
Located in New Orleans’ Central Business District, two blocks from the French Quarter’s famous Bourbon Street. Countless bars, restaurants, and shops are within a 10-minute walk. The Caesars Superdome and Smoothie King Center are under a mile away. Enjoy our rooftop pool, 11th floor lobby lounge, and Great American Grill.
The Great American Grill host daily breakfast buffet between the hours of 6am and 10am daily. Staff members Ursula, Marlene, anchored by Keith (mgr) offer above board hospitality. Cost is 19.95/ea. Dinner served evenings.
Rooms are very accommodating bosting plenty of space for both working and relaxing.
Celebrity Cruises is sailing into the future with the launch of a new virtual experience dubbed, the “Wonderverse.”
In an industry first, travelers will get to “see before they sail,” exploring a hyper-realistic, digital recreation of aspects of their newest ship in Celebrity’s transformational Edge Series, Celebrity Beyond, complete with the ship’s spaces, entertaining signature moments like Celebrity’s famous Martini Bar Flair Show, and the ability to visit top destinations that Celebrity sails to—from Alaska to the Caribbean and Europe to Asia.
In addition, guests can meet and chat with the line’s key leaders as digital avatars, including President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, the Captain Kate McCue—the first, and still only, American female captain of a major cruise ship, and Nate Berkus, Celebrity’s Edge Series travel ambassador and designer of the Sunset Bar on Celebrity Beyond.
Built-in partnership with virtual event platform architects Surreal Events, Celebrity’s Wonderverse is also complete with mini-games and activities, entertainment, easter eggs, and much more, all hosted on the web at celebritycruises.com/wonderverse.
Once logged in to the Wonderverse, consumers will move from space to space, enjoying immersive, interactive content throughout, as they learn more about the ship and the destinations they can sail to on Celebrity Cruises, including:
The Magic Carpet that soars cantilevered above the sea with uninterrupted vistas for enjoying virtual cocktails or dinner. The first space users will experience, it also doubles as a meeting space, providing a dynamic way for users to interact together virtually.
The majestic Grand Plaza, the social epicenter of Celebrity Beyond, spanning three decks with the brand’s signature Martini Bar at the heart of it all, will serve as a social-first lounge where passengers can connect, listen to music, enjoy Celebrity’s iconic Martini Bar Flair Show and chat with Celebrity’s President and CEO, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo.
The Resort Deck, featuring a Rooftop Garden, the ship’s Main Pool, unique cantilevered float pools, and sunken seating offers interactions with Captain Kate and Nate Berkus, who showcases the brand’s 2024-2025 season offerings. Visitors can also relax in lounge chairs and jump in the pool.
The Nate Berkus-designed Sunset Bar, where Berkus shares his personal travel experiences reflected in the internationally-inspired ambiance at the multi-level, multi-terraced outdoor space while visitors enjoy one of the most talked about spaces on any cruise ship.
The journey begins with a user-controlled tender game to the iconic Magic Carpet, where participants will have a chance to create their own personalized avatar. Participants will then be transported to the Resort Deck, where they will be greeted personally by Captain Kate, on hand to help answer questions and can explore the ship from there.
From there, visitors can also experience some of the world’s most breathtaking destinations in the Wonderverse, including the Endicott Arm & Dawes Glacier in Alaska; Santorini, Greece; Japan’s capital city of Tokyo and the Mt. Fuji; and the white sand beaches and clear Caribbean waters of St. Lucia, all before reuniting with Nate Berkus at the Sunset Bar, where they’ll have the opportunity to ask him a series of questions about the ship and destinations. As part of the experience, guests will be able to easily access a portal for immediate bookings.
TSA is throwing a bone to the last-minute packer in your life by introducing a mobile texting option to help travelers with last-minute travel packing questions.
If you’re in the midst of packing and need to know what you can or can’t bring, ‘AskTSA’ is now at your beck and call, in addition to the agency’s social media accounts and “What Can I Bring?” website.
You can text “Travel” to AskTSA (275872) for answers to your packing queries. Automated responses are provided 24 hours a day, and TSA experts are available from 8 am to 6 pm EST.
Users can choose from the following topics to get started: TSA PreCheck, What’s Allowed, Identification, Medical Questions, Damages/Claims, and Other.
Travelers interested in getting answers from the “What’s Allowed” section, for example, will choose between “Carryon” or “Checked” luggage, followed by the following topics to help specify your needs: E-Cigarettes, Electronics, Firearms, Flammable Aerosols, Food, Grooming Items, Knives, Lighters and More.
With this new texting option, travelers can finish their packing with the confidence that their suitcases won’t be rummaged through. But in my experience, those forgotten nail clippers at the bottom of your bag means they probably still will be.
Next year will see international travel recover at a faster pace despite increasing prices, as travelers shake concerns from the pandemic and plan bigger trips, according to recent research by travel insurance marketplace Squaremouth.com, which analyzed booking trends to identify five key 2023 travel predictions.
Here’s what it had to share:
1. 2023 Will Mark the Full Recovery of International Travel
Nearly 90 percent of insured travel was for international destinations, marking the first time international travel matched pre-pandemic levels. Squaremouth anticipates a high demand for international trips to continue in 2023.
2. Antarctica Will Be a Top Destination for the First Time in 2023
With international travel back, bigger trips to more adventurous destinations will trend in 2023. Preliminary 2023 trip data shows Antarctica is a top destination for the first time ever. Other top destinations early in 2023 include Israel, Costa Rica, France, Spain, and Japan.
3. Travelers Primed to Spend at Least 25 Percent More on Travel
With lingering economic uncertainties, travelers are becoming more budget-conscious and changing their spending habits. That said, travel is getting more expensive, and will continue to increase in 2023. Travelers spent an average of 25.53 percent more on trips in 2022 compared to pre-pandemic figures. Of all age cohorts, Millennials are feeling the most price pressure, spending an average of 40 percent more on trips compared to 2019.
4. Older Travelers Return
Older travelers have returned to pre-pandemic numbers going into 2023. Squaremouth expects Millennials and Gen Z will continue to purchase travel insurance at a higher rate than 2019.
Over 60 percent of travel insurance buyers are born before 1980, which includes Generation X and Baby Boomers; collectively, this group is expected to spend over $2 billion on travel in 2023. Throughout the pandemic, these demographics saw the largest drop-off. At the same time, Millennials and Gen Z grew their market share of travel insurance purchases by over 15 percent
5. Travelers Will Worry Less About Coronavirus and More About Airlines
Due to aviation-related travel disruptions in 2022, trip cancelation and travel delays are becoming bigger concerns for travelers going into 2023. Searches for travel insurance including COVID-related coverage dropped by around 2 percent in 2022, while searches for “Cancel for Any Reason” dropped by nearly 3 percent from 2021, and almost 9 percent compared to 2020. Trip delay coverage had the biggest increase of all searches, due in part to airline flight cancelation issues.
Methodology: Squaremouth analytics compared travel insurance policy sales for trips being insured between January 1 and December 5, 2022. To determine the top insured destinations for 2023, Squaremouth analytics analyzed all plans purchased by December 5, 2022, for travel between January 1 and December 31, 2023.
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