After weeks of being cooped up at home, consumers are seeking to explore the great outdoors farther than their own back yards, say travel advisors at Travel Leaders Network who have seen an uptick in travelers wanting advice where to go and want to do before the end of the year. Road trips, national parks and theme parks top the list.
“Our travel advisors have received requests from clients seeking RV rentals and luxury lodges and resorts near national parks and other places where they can safely socially distance not far from home,” said Roger E. Block, President of Travel Leaders Network.
A poll of Travel Leaders advisors show that clients are more willing to stay in a hotel, lodge or resort not far from home than they were a few weeks ago. More are also willing to take a flight to uncrowded destinations and engage private tours.
The Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Sequoia and the Grand Canyon top the National Parks list. Alaska is also a popular get away destination for those seeking nature in areas with fewer crowds. Florida remains a favorite for families interested in driving to Disney World or Universal Studios.
“For last-minute trips, consumers opt for extended weekends of three to five nights within a days’ drive,” said Block. “However, when planning a trip through a travel advisor, they can help you sort through options you didn’t know you had, help you understand the various travel restrictions and ensure you have the best possible experience with safety as a priority.”
Travel Leaders launched “North America Amazes,” a publication featuring articles for those seeking inspiration for close-to-home trips. It also features special promotions and discounts for those who book through a Travel Leaders advisor, who can recommend itineraries based on interests and budget.
Here are five vacation options to consider:
Self-Drive. For a road trip, try Grand Teton in Wyoming or Utah’s Bryce Canyon. There are private guided options away from the crowds that will allow you to explore the great scenery from off-the-beaten path. If Alaska is on your travel bucket list, you can do a combination of a guided tour and self-drive adventure that includes a visit to spectacular Denali National Park.
Luxury Motorcoach. For those who want to explore a new place with others, while still social distanced, consider hopping aboard a luxury motorcoach. You can sit back and enjoy the scenery on a stress-free ride.
A guide who knows the must-see sights and experiences will accompany you every step of the way. Tours can be grouped by theme, such as Bourbon, Bridles and Bluegrass, which takes you through Kentucky, North Carolina and Tennessee; or across Southern California Charms, with an itinerary that includes Beverly Hills, Palm Desert and Santa Barbara.
Rail Adventures. Traveling by train is another great way to see the country for those who want to venture a little farther from home. Your travel advisor can help create a customized package that includes accommodations, sightseeing tours, entertainment and dining options.
A sample itinerary may include traveling from Washington, D.C. to Chicago, or from Chicago to the Grand Canyon before ending your journey in Los Angeles. Rail adventures can be booked to be inclusive of accommodations, sightseeing tours, entertaining and dining.
Small Boat Expeditions. Though you can turn almost any adventure in the great outdoors into an active and adventure travel experience, there’s nothing quite like taking a kayak or paddleboard through a quiet cove or hiking to a waterfall or snorkeling along a coral reef. These are guided adventures available in the U.S. and Canada. Snake River in the greater Pacific Northwest winds through Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Oregon and the state of Washington.
River Cruises. Lined by major cities and historic river towns, woodlands and agricultural plains, American rivers are fascinating cruise destinations overflowing with history and culture. That’s exciting to travelers who are looking for a great vacation experience within U.S. borders. Riverboats hold fewer than 200 passengers and tend to have large sliding doors to private balconies.
The Mississippi, the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, the Southeast and New England offer fascinating adventures for domestic cruisers. A lower Mississippi River itinerary can take one on a journey to New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Natchez, Mississippi.
Luxury Resorts. Travelers seeking to get back to nature or a restorative wellness experience will find a host of luxury resorts in tranquil settings within driving distance of their hometown. Through Travel Leaders SELECT Hotels & Resorts program, travelers can access extra perks including early check-in/late checkout upon availability, a room upgrade upon availability and complimentary Wi-Fi, along with a free breakfast and a special amenity, such as a spa or dining credit.