FLORIDA — Two years of pent-up demand resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic are expected to boost travel in 2022, especially this summer, according to a quarterly survey by AAA, the auto club.

Nearly seven in 10 Floridians will take at least one trip in 2022, and 51% of those surveyed said they expect to travel this summer, the quarterly survey taken April 13-19 indicates.

What You Need To Know

  • More Floridians are ready to travel, AAA survey finds

  • Seven in 10 of those surveyed said they will travel in 2022, 51% this summer

  • Being vaccinated against COVID makes more people feel comfortable 

  • Higher gas prices could lead to less frequent, shorter trips, survey indicates

“We’re hearing from travelers who are eager to return to a sense of normalcy, and it appears that time is finally here,” said Debbie Haas, vice president of travel for AAA. “Travel bookings are surging, with people who are tired of being home, are ready to explore new destinations and reconnect with family and friends.”

Part of the reason for the increase is people feel more comfortable venturing out from the worst of the COVID pandemic, the survey found. About 50% attributed their level of comfort to being vaccinated, and 24% said they are less afraid of the dangers of the virus. Still others — 29% — said they believe odds of catching the virus are the same no matter where you go.

So far, trips to the beach are the most common travel destinations already booked at 42%, while 27% plan to visit a theme park and 26% have made reservations for a trip to a major city or metropolitan area, AAA reported. Only 19% have planned international travel so far.

Sharply higher gas prices are not stopping people from traveling, but they will take them into account when planning their vacations. According to a AAA report, 82% of Florida's summer travelers still plan to take a road trip of 50 miles or more this summer. However, most of them — 68% — said they will change their travel habits to account for higher prices at the pump in ways such as taking fewer trips, taking shorter trips, staying at less expensive hotels and trimming some other travel expenses.

Travelers can make plans that help curb their expenses by accounting for higher gas prices, AAA says. It recommends taking advantage of fuel rewards programs, getting cars tuned up to ensure they operate efficiently and using apps to find the lowest gas prices in the area.