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Floridians are eager for the holiday travel season, survey says

Airport lobby decorated with Christmas trees
Tampa International Airport
While the summer travel season has just come to an end, people in Florida already seem to be planning for their upcoming holiday trips.

People in Florida already seem to be planning for their upcoming holiday trips. According to a recent AAA survey, 61% of those polled are securing their travel plans ahead of time.

While the summer travel season has just come to an end, people in Florida already seem to be planning for their upcoming holiday trips.

A recent AAA survey found that 61% of residents are securing their travel plans ahead of time.

Here are some of the highlights of the survey of residents in 13 states in the first week of August:

Early Bookings

When it comes to the Sunshine State, 57% of the 400 people surveyed said that they were planning their travel earlier this year -- and they’re saying it’s because of increased prices.

"Now is really the time to start planning your holiday travels, the sooner the better to ensure that you have the right combination of pricing and availability,” AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said. “The closer you get to the holiday, the more expensive flights and cruises get -- all the more reason you want to book early.”

Thanksgiving Plans

Traveling during Thanksgiving is popular among the Floridians surveyed. About 55% plan to take a vacation that requires at least one overnight stay during Thanksgiving and 61% want to have their trips booked by the end of September.

AAA predicts that the busiest travel days will be the Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday of Thanksgiving week.

They advise travelers to consider booking a flight on Sunday or Monday before Thanksgiving and the Saturday after the holiday since airports will be less busy.

Christmas Travel

While plans for Thanksgiving are in full swing for Floridians, schedules are still a little staggered for Santa.

Only 12% have already finalized plans -- most will wait until the end of September (21%), October (28%), or November (26%) to book.

Cruises and International Travel

“You might not think it, but cruising is extremely popular during holidays. They’re essentially floating resorts, there’s so much built into a cruise,” Jenkins explained.

“You can travel with the entire family under one roof, visiting multiple destinations and you don’t have to deal with cooking and cleaning. You just experience the time and build the memories.”

The survey found that 14% of Floridians polled are currently planning on going on a cruise.

Another unconventional option is to go abroad,

Traveling internationally is the preference of 15% of the people surveyed in Florida, with Europe being the top choice for the 2023 holiday season.

Planning Ahead

As the season approaches, Floridians should be proactive in their preparations. Jenkins emphasized the value of travel insurance, calling it “your shield from the unexpected.”

“A lot of people might think that they don’t need it, but you don’t realize that you need it until you do,” he said

“There are different policies that could provide compensation for a flight delay, or if you get sick and can’t make your flight, there are travel insurance policies that can protect you as well.

“If you are spending money on a trip, it’s really important to protect that investment.”

For more detailed survey findings, click here.

João Victor Pina is the WUSF Rush Family Radio News intern for fall of 2023.