May 3, 2021
Ready or not, Olivia Shears is traveling again.
Shears, a junior at Florida International University in Miami, plans to meet up with her friend, Shelby Spinosa, in Alabama next month and then embark on a 10-day road trip across the American West.
"We're going to drive through Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Texas," says Shears. "Because of COVID, we are planning all of our stops ahead of time and investigating hotels that we feel would be safest options and have good safety protocols in place. We are visiting open-air sites, like parks. And we're planning our meals."
Students are more than ready to travel. Almost two-thirds of millennials and Gen Z want to go somewhere this year, according to a recent survey by Contiki. More than half are comfortable traveling right now, even if it means having to pay for quarantine when they return home. And 71% would take the COVID vaccine, which, as they put it to the pollsters at Contiki, is a "no-brainer."
Students like Shears had planned more ambitious trips before the pandemic. But as with other travelers, the virus rerouted her to a domestic destination.
That may not be enough for worried parents. The Centers for Disease Control still recommends that Americans avoid all travel. But high school and college students are rarin' to go. And it's not just on spring break, but on summer vacations, fall semesters abroad and other exchange programs, too.
"After a difficult year, many Americans are looking forward to the possibility of international travel returning in summer and fall of 2021," says Daniel Durazo, a spokesman for Allianz Travel.