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Spring Break Travel Bookings, Costs Up, Despite Safety Warnings To Prime Destinations

Though the United States State Department has issued warnings to travelers about potentially visiting certain destinations on their upcoming Spring Breaks, it appears that Americans have their biggest appetite yet for jetting off to tropical and warm destinations. In addition, they may we willing to pay more for it as costs remain elevated.

With this year’s Spring Break season the first one since the COVID-19 pandemic where borders were completely open and travelers don’t need to show proof of negative COVID tests before flying, many are casting their eye to destinations both domestic and abroad to try and make the most of time off from work and school, and they aren’t being deterred by higher than usual prices on airfare and accommodations.

“[Spring break demand is] probably the best we’ve ever seen,” Frontier Airlines CRO Barry Biffle told CNBC. “Constrained capacity is real. When you couple that in with higher costs, most notably fuel, people are willing to pay [the higher fares], and the airlines need to charge it.”

As for where the most popular destinations tend to be? Florida is once again proving to be a stronghold for domestic travelers, but many are taking advantage of relaxed guidelines due to health and also booking flights to Mexico and other parts of Central America. Travel app Hopper found that roundtrip flights to those areas from the U.S. are up 60% from last year and 30% from 2019, coming in at $536.00. Caribbean Islands flights are averaging $433 roundtrip, an increase of 28%, and European jaunts are averaging $706, a 45% increase from 2022.

Hopper also found that domestic airfare is averaging $264 per round trip for March and April, an increase of 20% from a year ago.

However, though prices and bookings are on the rise, those looking to go to Mexico have been warned to exceed caution due to crime, and the State Department has even issued warnings to completely avoid travel to certain areas of the country.

The State Department’s travel advisory website has five Mexican states under the strictest warning level due to crime and kidnapping, while a sixth is also on the list due to crime. Among the popular spring break destinations that fall into the states are Mazatlàn, in Sinaloa state, and Acapulco, in Guerrero state.

Americans are also urged to reconsider travel to Tijuana, in Baja California State, as well as Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta, in Jalisco State. Increased caution is encouraged in areas like Cabo San Lucas and Rosarito Beach, in Baja California Sur, Mexico City, Sayulita in Nayarit, Oaxaca, and Tulum, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel and Cancun, all in Quintana Roo.

Mexico’s Caribbean beach resort of Tulum, famed for its Mayan temples and turquoise waters, has been shaken by gang turf wars
AFP / Daniel SLIM