Americans are already dreaming of post-vaccine travel — and their top destinations are the world's biggest cities

Westend61/Getty ImagesWith news of a vaccine, Americans are ready to visit big cities again.
  • When the news of potential coronavirus vaccines broke, some people immediately started planning their next vacation.
  • Skyscanner saw spikes in both searches and bookings on the days that news of a potential coronavirus vaccine hit.

  • While the pandemic had travellers avoiding big cities, when news of the Pfizer vaccine broke, people started searching for big cities once more.
  • When news of Moderna’s vaccine hit, travellers started dreaming bigger and began searching for more international destinations.
  • The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention warns that “travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.”
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

When the news of potential coronavirus vaccines broke, the world uttered a collective sigh of relief.

And, despite the fact that the vaccines likely won’t be available to everyone in the US until May 2021, some people have immediately started planning their next vacation.

Travel search engine Skyscanner told Insider that on November 9, 2020, when news of Pfizer’s promising vaccine broke, searches for economy class round-trips from the US increased by 39% compared to the previous day. Bookings jumped 25%.

Similarly, on November 16, 2020, when news of the promising Moderna vaccine hit, searches for economy class round-trips from the US rose by 63% compared to the previous day. Bookings spiked 17%.

On November 9, tentative travellers kept their potential trips pretty local, with US destinations making up most of the top 10.

However, what US cities Americans were searching for came as a surprise, as most of the list consisted of large cities, with New York, Los Angeles, and Miami rounding out the top three.

Whereas the pandemic had travellers avoiding big cities in lieu of small towns, camping, and road trips, the vaccine news had big cities shoot up to the top of people’s bucket lists once more.

Even more interesting is that, once news of a second potentially viable vaccine broke, travellers began dreaming even bigger, with international destinations from London to Munich making up the top 10 most-searched destinations.

Most experts predicted travel rebounding

Mark Crossey, the US Traveller Expert for Skyscanner, said that US travellers are emboldened by most airlines’ scrapped change fees.

“The emergence of truly flexible travel fares has not gone unnoticed, and US travellers are taking advantage,” he said, adding that low fares and flexibility will likely be around for a while to encourage bookings.

He added that the post-vaccine news spike just shows how unwavering Americans’ appetite for travel is.

Insider reported in April that many experts predicted this, agreeing that while the question of when and how long it will take to get there was unclear, travel would rebound swiftly.

“People’s desire to travel is resilient,” a TripAdvisor spokesperson previously said in a statement to Insider. “What we’ve seen through SARS, Ebola, terrorist attacks, and numerous natural disasters is that the travel industry has always rebounded.”

“Humans need to travel. That is a fundamental aspect of what it is to be human,” Ross Dawson, author and futurist, told Insider in April.

Konrad Waliszewski, CEO and co-founder of TripScout, told Insider that he sees the news of the vaccine as “the first major morale boost since March” for travellers.

“It will take a few months for us to see the impact, but there’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel that we can all see,” he said. “At Tripscout, we’ve seen a surge in traffic since the news. It’s almost entirely still at the inspirational level to get ideas of where to travel in 2021, but wanderlusting is finally back.”

From big cities like London and Los Angeles to European hotspots such as Paris and Amsterdam, Americans can’t wait to visit big cities once there’s a vaccine

Woman influencer paris travelWestend61/Getty ImagesUS travellers are hoping to travel internationally again soon.

The top 10 destination searches for November 9, 2020, when news of the Pfizer vaccine’s 90% efficacy rate broke:

  1. New York City
  2. Los Angeles
  3. Miami
  4. Las Vegas
  5. Cancun
  6. London
  7. Denver
  8. Orlando
  9. Chicago
  10. Washington

The top 10 destination searches for November 16, 2020, when news of the Moderna vaccine’s 94.5% efficacy rate broke:

  1. London
  2. Paris
  3. Copenhagen
  4. Manchester
  5. Madrid
  6. Amsterdam
  7. Dublin
  8. Frankfurt
  9. Milan
  10. Munich

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention warns that “travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.” Furthermore, European Union member countries are still closed to Americans.

However, news of the vaccine seems to have US travellers hopeful that European travel will resume soon.

Read more:

Cheaper flights and flexible cancellation fees might be here for a while. Here’s what air travel may look after the pandemic.

The risk of getting sick on a plane is lower than you might think — if you know what to watch out for

There’s a thriving black market for fake COVID-19 test results, but the travel industry is starting to crack down

8 of the easiest countries to move to from the US when the pandemic is over

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