Despite omicron concerns, 100 million+ Americans likely to travel for the holidays

Dec 19, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Americans are hitting the road for the holidays. According to AAA, roughly 109 million people are flying or driving for Christmas and New Year’s. That is about 92% of the travel numbers from 2019 and a huge increase from last year’s holiday travel season when the pandemic kept many people at home.

The omicron variant of the coronavirus, a highly-transmissible strain, is causing concern as cases are rising at an alarming rate in some cities. That’s led to indoor mask mandates returning and other pandemic protocols returning in New York City, as one example. But the availability of the COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots offer protection we didn’t have last year, and that’s giving people the security to keep their plans intact.

Want more travel news and tips dropped each morning in your inbox? Sign up for TPG’s daily newsletter

“Americans who canceled their vacations in 2020 want to gather with family and friends for the holidays this year, although they will still be mindful of the pandemic and the new omicron variant,” Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel, said in a statement. “With vaccines widely available, conditions are much different and many people feel a greater level of comfort with travel.”

The most popular choice for travel between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2 is the classic American road trip. More than 100 million will drive to their destination of choice, but with more than six million people expected to fly, expect airports to be packed around Christmas. AAA says Disney destinations Orlando and Anaheim top the list for most popular choices this holiday season, with Las Vegas, NYC and Maui finishing off the Top Five.

Related: 3 ways to pandemic-proof your holiday travel

Still, we are still in a pandemic and the new variant could lead to last-minute headaches, so being prepared is crucial for your holiday plans. First and foremost, don’t leave your patience behind when you head to the airport. TPG has reported before how the TSA’s passenger screening numbers this holiday season are almost back to their pre-pandemic levels of 2019. That was aided immensely by the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines and the U.S. reopening its borders to all international visitors.

Related: What you need to know about omicron and visiting New York 

And, we’ve got a ton of tips for you to keep you sane this holiday season. Here’s Summer Hull’s top nine tips.

Featured image: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.