BOISE – For many Americans, Spring Break marks the unofficial start of the travel season, and according to new research by AAA, it’s going to be a busy one.

AAA booking data shows a 30% increase in international travel from a year ago, and a new AAA survey finds that more than 40% of adults who have made Spring Break travel plans will take a trip that includes three generations of family members.

Domestic trips may be slightly down from last year as travelers explore more options around the globe, but that could change, as some of the trips that are closer to home will likely be last-minute decisions.  14% of U.S. adults say that they haven’t decided yet whether they will travel.

“Families are excited to connect and chase away the winter blues with some fun in the sun,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde.  “Many will have grandparents sharing in the adventure, so they’re getting the best of both worlds.”

On average, families can expect to pay anywhere from 20-25% more for hotel rooms and airfare than a year ago.  But the higher prices aren’t expected to deter many from taking a vacation.

AAA survey respondents rated beach vacations as the most popular choice for Spring Break this year, with places like California, Florida and Hawaii taking center stage.  Cruising is also making a big splash, with travel itineraries to the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America among the most popular choices, followed by sailings to Alaska, Canada, and Northern Europe.

Top Spring Break destinations in our area include:

  1. Anaheim, CA
  2. Las Vegas, NV
  3. Salt Lake City, UT
  4. Phoenix, AZ
  5. San Diego, CA
  6. Orlando, FL
  7. Oregon Coast
  8. Hawaii
  9. Seattle, WA
  10. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

AAA says that hotel rates will be cheaper in cities with colder climates, which could help stretch the family budget.  If traveling with kids, look for hotels with indoor swimming pools.

Spring Break travel tips

Here’s some expert advice from our full-time AAA inspectors:

  • Do your homework. Take some time to identify excursions, day trips, and museums that are within reach of your destination.  For beach trips, research snorkeling opportunities, sightseeing tours, or dinner cruises.
  • Consider visiting a state that has a different spring break schedule to avoid crowds.
  • Embrace the local flavor. Look for festivals, concerts, and unique foods and activities.
  • Adapt to the weather. If your travel plans focus on plenty of outdoor activities, make sure you have a ‘plan B’ for inclement weather.
  • Think twice about non-refundable rates. If changes or cancellations must be made, any savings will be lost.
  • Ask for a hotel room that is away from the elevator and on a top floor.
  • Tip generously. You’ll help the server or bartender improve their day and you’ll ensure prompt service if you need anything else.

AAA recommends booking summer travel well in advance this year.  While there may be an occasional last-minute discount, popular itineraries, flights, and hotels are expected to fill rapidly, which could push prices higher as availability becomes more limited.

To help travelers dream, plan, and begin booking their vacations, AAA offers a free online travel tool: Trip Canvas.  AAA members are encouraged to meet with their local AAA travel agent for more information and inspiration.

“Please consider purchasing travel insurance to protect your investment,” Conde said.  “From time to time, we all have to face the unexpected.  When that happens, it’s good to have a plan in place.”