Travel

Pent-Up Demand—Plus Vaccines—Has Created a Frenzy to Book Vacations

Here are some places Washingtonians are heading this summer.

Many Washingtonians apparently have their travel sights set on Hawaii this summer.

US Tropical Isles

“This summer, one of the places we are booking the most is Hawaii,” says Alisa Cohen, founder of the Luxe Traveler Club in DC. “Because [people] are not going to Europe, Hawaii feels exotic.” The demand has created surge pricing: “I was looking at booking a trip to Hawaii for my family, and the airfare doubled within two weeks.”

Others are choosing the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, Cohen says, because, as with Hawaii, Americans don’t need to submit proof of a negative Covid test to return home, as they currently do for international travel.

Westward Ho

Cohen is also seeing a lot of interest in heading out west this summer: “Wyoming, Montana, Utah, anything that feels remote, but with built-in activity—hiking or mountain biking or whitewater rafting.” Some clients are saddling up at dude ranches; others are renting RVs to tour national parks.

East Coast Road Trips

For those who don’t want to fly, Cohen recommends a road trip up through New England or down along the Blue Ridge Mountains. The good news, she says: There’s good hotel availability if you’re flexible.

Destination Deals

While beach houses and socially distant getaways are in demand, urban areas including Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Richmond are where the deals are. “Cities were the hardest-hit,” Cohen says. “We’re seeing a lot of incentives, such as third night free and credits for food. I think New York is going to be big this summer. Everyone misses New York.”

Cohen suggests also looking at the Caribbean and Mexico for summer bargains, because it’s not their high season.

Villas and Private Bubbles

Cohen says there’s a big demand for renting private houses right now, not just for reasons of social distancing: “People who have not seen their parents or grandparents or cousins or sisters are saying, ‘Let’s get a house and get together.’ ”

She says this is a popular idea for Christmas week. But she’s also booking five-to-ten-bedroom staffed villas in places like Tuscany for next year, as Europe may still not open for Americans this year: “It seems crazy to book a villa in 2022 in Tuscany now. But all the people who couldn’t get refunded [last year] are rolling over travel credits for 2022. It is insane how early everything is booking up.”

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Executive Editor

Sherri Dalphonse joined Washingtonian in 1986. She is the editor in charge of such consumer topics as travel, fitness, health, finance, and beauty, as well as the editor who handles such cover stories as Great Places to Work, Best of Washington, Day Trips, Hidden Gems, Top Doctors, and Great Small Towns. She lives in DC.