JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With more people getting vaccinated, you may have noticed travel is starting to pick back up. That includes Spring Break for much of Northeast Florida.
With its beautiful beaches and endless leisure activities, it’s no wonder Florida is still a top vacation spot for Spring Break and year-round.
Scott Lara is a travel agent, known as “the cruise genius,” and says his business is seeing the interest.
“Even with COVID going on, more and more people are coming to Florida,” Lara said. “Not only living here but vacationing here.”
Some months back, Visit Florida asked residents of the sunshine state to consider “stay-cations” because of COVID-19. Lara said he and others in the business say Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers and Tampa remain prime destinations.
But if your quest for R&R means leaving the country, Mexico and the Dominican Republic are good options.
“I just got back from Jamaica, there are very few travel restrictions there,” Lara said. “It’s easy to get there and get back, and people are having a lot of fun. More importantly, it’s cost-effective.”
Air travel is already picking up. The Transportation Safety Administration said it screened over 1.3 million people at airports on Friday -- the most screened in one day since early March last year. But that’s still 57% of the pre-pandemic volume, according to airline industry experts.
But statistics are showing people are feeling more comfortable with taking to the skies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to advise against non-necessary travel, even for those vaccinated.
What about cruising this year? After all, the industry took a big hit with COVID-19 restrictions being put in place. American Cruise Lines’ small coastal cruiser, Independence, set sail from Amelia Island to Charleston, South Carolina, over the weekend, making it one of the first cruises since the pandemic. Lara says he’s confident more cruising will happen this year but says people need to remember things are fluid.
“Carnival has paused until the end of May,” Lara said. “Crystal is getting ready to do a cruise in July.”
Lara says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the cruise lines are still working together to narrow down final safety regulations. He says people, if they haven’t already, consider getting the vaccine.
“My prediction is for traveling, yes, you will need a COVID passport,” Lara said. “You’re going to need to be able to prove that you’ve had the vaccination, or you have recovered from COVID to be able to travel.”
Safely picking up where we left off, one step at a time. Road trips are also great options for spring break and any travel this year. Many News4Jax viewers have told us they’re planning to use their stimulus checks for vacations, which could mean yet another boost for Florida’s tourism industry.