Why you should make your Fourth of July travel plans right now
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In case you haven’t heard, travel is coming back.
Passenger numbers (measured by those screened at TSA checkpoints around the country), may still be well below 2019 levels, but they’re up significantly from last year. And we can expect them to rise further as the country’s vaccination progress continues along at a brisk pace.
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By the summer, every adult in the United States will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and by then a large portion of adults will have already been vaccinated, (hopefully) opening up more options for travel this summer.
Already one of the most important holidays in the U.S., this upcoming Independence Day coincides with a point at which nearly 90% of U.S. adults will have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to projections from The New York Times.
This has the potential to unleash the floodgates of the “pent-up demand” industry experts have been discussing since the pandemic began. And since it will still be difficult to travel overseas to Europe and Asia this summer, expect the overwhelming majority of these pandemic-weary travelers to stay within the U.S.
Of course, the travel industry won’t have fully recovered by summer. Airlines won’t be operating at 100% of their pre-pandemic capacity, meaning flights have the potential to sell out much sooner — and ticket prices could skyrocket as we get closer to the summer. And, hotels, especially in urban areas, may not be operating at full force.
This is why it’s important to nail down plans now — especially for busy holidays like the Fourth of July. Need some inspiration? Consider these domestic getaways over the long holiday weekend. Just remember, airfare is based on round-trip flights from New York City for a three-day weekend surrounding the Fourth of July holiday, and prices could change at any time.
One of the country’s principal gateways to the West, Denver and the surrounding area has long been popular with travelers wanting to explore the great outdoors.
And the Mile High City has much to offer in the way of restaurants, bars, shopping and entertainment, making it a perfect destination for a family, a group of friends or solo travelers looking to get away for a long weekend.
With round-trip flights coming in at around $220 on the holiday weekend, heading out West doesn’t have to break the bank.
Where to stay
Fortunately, Denver points hotels still have plenty of availability for stays over Independence Day weekend. Here are a few of our top picks with availability, but check directly with your preferred hotel chain for even more options.
- JW Marriott Denver Cherry Creek: Category 5 Marriott Bonvoy property; 30,000 to 40,000 points per night
- Courtyard Denver Central Park: Category 3 Marriott Bonvoy property; 15,000 to 20,000 points per night
- The Art Hotel Denver, Curio Collection by Hilton: rates vary by night
- Hilton Garden Inn Denver Downtown: rates vary by night
- Kimpton Hotel Monaco Denver: rates vary by night
- Staybridge Suites Denver Downtown: rates vary by night
- Grand Hyatt Denver: Category 3 World of Hyatt property; 12,000 points per night
- Hyatt Place Denver/Cherry Creek: Category 2 World of Hyatt property; 8,000 points per night
One of the most charming (yet simultaneously haunting) cities in the Southeast, Savannah is a great destination to explore for anyone who loves history, architecture, food, bars and so much more. Stroll along the Savannah River with an ice-cold lemonade or meander through the city’s famous Forsyth Park under the live oaks draped in Spanish moss before settling in at one of the city’s restaurants for a delectable southern meal.
Round-trip nonstop flights over the holiday weekend cost under $200 right now, making a getaway well within reach.
Where to stay
Savannah has a wealth of points properties available over the holiday weekend. Here’s a quick look at some of the highlights, across the budget spectrum:
- Perry Lane, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Savannah: Category 7 Marriott Bonvoy property; 50,000 to 70,000 points per night
- Aloft Savannah Downtown Historic District: Category 4 Marriott Bonvoyo property; 20,000 to 30,000 points per night
- The Cotton Sail Hotel Savannah, Tapestry Collection by Hilton: Rates vary by night
- Hampton Inn and Suites Savannah Historic District: Rates vary by night
- Kimpton Brice Hotel: Rates vary by night
- Holiday Inn Savannah Historic District: Rates vary by night
- Andaz Savannah: Category 4 World of Hyatt property; 15,000 points per night
- Hyatt Regency Savannah: Category 3 World of Hyatt property; 12,000 points per night
Most famous for being home to Walt Disney World, Orlando has something to offer for every type of traveler. With sun almost guaranteed year-round (though you’ll have to fight the humidity in the middle of the summer), you can’t go wrong with a trip to Central Florida.
Right now, you can book round-trip nonstop flights to Orlando from just $185.
Where to stay
You have plenty of options for booking points hotels in the Orlando area, but with people once again flocking to Disney World, that equation could change rapidly in the coming weeks.
- JW Marriott Orlando Bonnett Creek Resort and Spa: Category 6 Marriott Bonvoy property; 40,000 to 60,000 points per night
- Walt Disney World Swan/Walt Disney World Dolphin: Category 6 Marriott Bonvoy properties; 40,000 to 60,000 points per night
- Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista – Disney Springs Area: Rates vary by night
- Waldorf Astoria Orlando: Rates vary by night
- Crowne Plaza Orlando – Universal Boulevard: Rates vary by night
- Staybridge Suites Orlando at Seaworld: Rates vary by night
- Hyatt House across from Universal Orlando Resort: Category 3 World of Hyatt property; 12,000 points per night
- Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress: Category 3 World of Hyatt property; 12,000 points per night
Located on the Gulf side of Florida, Tampa is located right on Tampa Bay and offers travelers a wide array of things to do including multiple museums and other cultural attractions. The historic neighborhood of Ybor City is famous for its dining and nightlife, and there are many beaches in close proximity to the city where you can catch some rays and get in quality relaxation time.
Nonstop flights are bookable now from $207 round-trip.
Where to stay
Here are some of our top picks for Tampa hotels with award availability:
- Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk Hotel: Category 4 Marriott Bonvoy property; 20,000 to 30,000 points per night
- JW Marriott Tampa Water Street: Category 6 Marriott Bonvoy property; 40,000 to 60,000 points per night
- Hilton Garden Inn Tampa Ybor Historic District: Rates vary by night
- Hotel Alba Tampa, Tapestry Collection by Hilton: Rates vary by night
- Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay: Category 3 World of Hyatt property; 12,000 points per night
- Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa: Category 6 World of Hyatt property; 25,000 points per night
Chicago’s truly one-of-a-kind in the summer. You can experience the frenetic energy of the nation’s third-largest city and all the fine dining, drinking, shopping and entertainment that affords all while enjoying the relaxing vibes of the beach. There’s nothing quite like exploring the city all day and then taking a dip in the (relatively) warm waters of Lake Michigan to cool off.
Book nonstop flights from $162 round-trip.
Where to stay
Here’s a look at some of our top options available to book with points over the Fourth of July:
- The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago: Category 6 Marriott Bonvoy property; 40,000 to 60,000 points per night
- Aloft Chicago Mag Mile: Category 4 Marriott Bonvoy property; 20,000 to 30,000 points per night
- LondonHouse Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton: Rates vary by night
- theWit Chicago – a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel: Rates vary by night
- InterContinental HotelsChicago Magnificent Mile: Rates vary by night
- KimptonHotel Monaco Chicago: Rates vary by night
- Chicago Athletic Association: Category 4 World of Hyatt property; 15,000 points per night
- Park Hyatt Chicago: Category 6 World of Hyatt property; 25,000 points per night
What better place to celebrate Independence Day than our nation’s capital? The Fourth of July is always a memorable affair in Washington, D.C., and if you’re considering making a trip for the festivities, why not make it a long weekend filled with sightseeing, eating in some of the country’s best restaurants and having cocktails (or a good old-fashioned American beer) in a cutting-edge bar?
Book a nonstop round-trip flight right now for $149.
Where to stay
Washington, D.C. is typically one of the most popular destinations for July Fourth, so while hotel availability is plentiful now, it’d be wise to get your plans set in stone fast. Here are some of the available options:
- W Washington, D.C.: Category 6 Marriott Bonvoy property; 40,000 to 60,000 points per night
- Marriott Marquis Washington, D.C.: Category 6 Marriott Bonvoy property; 40,000 to 60,000 points per night
- Conrad Washington, D.C.: Rates vary by night
- West End Washington DC, Tapestry Collection by Hilton: Rates vary by night
- Kimpton Hotel Monaco Washington DC: Rates vary by night
- Hyatt Place Washington, D.C./White House: Category 4 World of Hyatt property; 15,000 points per night
- Park Hyatt Washington, D.C.: Category 5 World of Hyatt property; 20,000 points per night
At the center of the American Revolution and the backdrop for many important moments in the country’s early history, Boston has always had a unique patriotism — and there’s no better embodiment of it than the Fourth of July. Spend the day exploring the narrow cobblestone streets of some of the oldest neighborhoods in America, walking The Freedom Trail or going on a Duck Tour (come on, we know you want to) in the Charles River.
Book flights from $138 round-trip nonstop.
Where to stay
Boston is typically one of the country’s most expensive hotel markets, but thankfully there are plenty of places where you can pay with points.
- The Ritz-Carlton, Boston: Category 8 Marriott Bonvoy property; 70,000 to 100,000 points per night
- AC Hotel Boston Downtown: Category 5 Marriott Bonvoy property; 30,000 to 40,000 points per night
- Hampton Inn Boston Seaport: Rates vary by night
- Hilton Boston Back Bay: Rates vary by night
- Hotel Indigo Boston Garden: Rates vary by night
- Kimpton Nine Zero Hotel: Rates vary by night
Charleston, South Carolina
If you like history and good weather (with a little humidity, of course), you’re in for a treat in Charleston. Streets lined with colorful homes and businesses, palm trees swaying lazily in the wind, and restaurants and bars that can compete with some of the best in the world: You’ll find these all in this coastal Carolina city.
Nonstop flights are available from $257 round-trip.
Where to stay
Here are some of the top options for points hotels in Charleston with availability over the Fourth of July.
- Renaissance Charleston Historic District Hotel: Category 6 Marriott Bonvoy property; 40,000 to 60,000 points per night
- Grand Bohemian Hotel Charleston, Autograph Collection: Category 7 Marriott Bonvoy property; 50,000 to 70,000 points per night
- Embassy Suites by Hilton Charleston Harbor Mt. Pleasant: Rates vary by night
- Hotel IndigoMount Pleasant: Rates vary by night
- Wentworth Mansion: Category 7 World of Hyatt property; 30,000 points per night
Featured photo by Anindo Dey Photography/Getty Images.
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