Summer Travel Trends and the Zika Effect

Travelers are in the midst of making decisions about their summer plans, and there are many factors—including security—that play into their choices. Traveling overseas on the U.S. Dollar is cheaper than it has been in a while, but concern about the Zika virus is affecting international bookings and could boost domestic travel. How could this affect leisure travel this summer?

Domestic Travel

“With the increase of security threats happening abroad, I wouldn’t be surprised if in 2016 we begin to see more U.S. travelers booking trips to domestic hotspots like Hawaii, Alaska and San Diego,” said Cassie McNab, marketing manager at CSA Travel Protection.
Travelers in the U.S. are spending more this year, and more this summer— at least that was the forecast in December. A 3.4 percent rise in U.S. travel expenditures was forecast for 2016, according to the U.S. Travel Association, and signs show domestic travel may even get a boost from fear about overseas terrorism and the Zika Virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Andrew Saunders, president of the real estate company Saunders & Associates, recently told U.S. News and World Report that security concerns are causing an increase in the number of travelers choosing to stay close to home rather than renting overseas this year.

The Center for Disease Control reports more than 190 travel-associated Zika virus cases have been documented and the CDC warns that pregnant women should consider delaying travel to areas with Zika. The virus has been linked to Microcephaly, a serious birth defect.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll from February showed that 41 percent of Americans aware of the Zika virus say they are less likely to take a trip to affected areas.

Luckily, no cases of Zika are reported to have been acquired in the United States. However, it’s still a sound idea to keep an eye out. The types of mosquitoes that are able to transmit the virus have historically been found across the US, from East to West coasts, and some estimates show that up to 200 million Americans live in areas where the disease could potentially spread during the summer.

On a lighter note — road trips are likely to be a popular summer getaway. With gas prices at decade lows and the 100-year anniversary of the National Park Service, featuring centennial celebration events throughout the nation in August, the roads are sure to be packed.

The AARP reports that 95 percent of Baby Boomers plan to travel domestically in 2016, with Florida, Las Vegas, California, New York and Hawaii as the most mentioned destinations. Summer Vacations, Multi-Generational trips, and Weekend Getaways are cited as the most popular reasons for Boomer travel, which are also some of the peak situations for choosing to stay at a vacation rental.

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