Pent-Up Demand Has Created a Frenzy to Book Vacations—Here Are Some Places Washingtonians Are Heading

Trend Report: Travel Surge

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 Eu-rope, 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 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.’ ”

Cohen 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.”

This article appears in the May 2021 issue. 

Editor in chief

Sherri Dalphonse joined Washingtonian in 1986 as an editorial intern, and worked her way to the top of the masthead when she was named editor-in-chief in 2022. She oversees the magazine’s editorial staff, and guides the magazine’s stories and direction. She lives in DC.