Amid pent-up demand and savings surplus, summer 2022 travel is poised to be hotter than ever.
With eased border restrictions, international destinations are back on the table for many travelers.
I’m a travel writer, and these are the best places to go this summer based on the latest trends.
I’m a travel writer and have been covering the industry for years. I’m convinced this summer will be huge for travel.
As we barrel towards Memorial Day, I’m giddily blocking out dates on my calendar for summer travel. At last, so many options seem more feasible than they did at any time over the last two long years of heavy travel restrictions.
And I’m far from alone. According to recent Google Search and Flights data for 2022 so far, travelers across the US are feeling the same pent-up demand and are ready to hit the road — and the skies — this summer.
Searches made between January and mid-April 2022 showed that travelers are ready to make up for lost time and go all out on travel. Search interest in “luxury hotels” elevated above 2019 levels, and searches for “luxury hotels near me” was more than double what Google data showed in early 2019, prior to the pandemic.
Still, travelers continue to embrace nature and wide-open spaces, with Yellowstone National Park ranking high in interest, as well as Disney World, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
Similarly, for summer travel dates between June and August 2022, Orlando was the top-searched destination. Other cities like Las Vegas, my perennial favorite, and New York also cracked the top five.
But unlike last summer, when many border restrictions created barriers, this year, international travel is now very much an option. The same Google data also showed that two international locations made the list of top-searched travel destinations this summer, with Cancun at No. 2 and London at No. 4. Correspondingly, search interest in “passport appointments” increased 300 percent over the first four months of 2022, according to the data.
Inspired by these trends, as well as upcoming anticipated events this summer, I compiled a list of the best domestic and international destinations to consider for summer 2022 travel.
The Queen of England will celebrate her Platinum Jubilee this summer, with many events scheduled in London to mark the occasion.
This year, the Queen became the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee — that’s 70 years on the throne. Devoted royal watchers (and “Bridgerton” fans) will want to celebrate the occasion this summer with a jaunt across the pond. Four days of events and initiatives are slated for the extended holiday weekend between June 2 and 5, including public events and community activities across the UK Stay near Buckingham Palace to check out the troops parading between the palace and the parade ground as part of Trooping the Colour.
If you need a place to stay, my family and I once stayed at the Taj 51 Buckingham Gate, and while strolling around the hotel, we managed to catch a glimpse of the Queen leaving the palace in her famous burgundy Rolls Royce! While I can’t guarantee you’ll see her, visiting during this time will be witnessing history in the making.
Take advantage of summer-long activities and new hotels in my hometown of Los Angeles.
As an LA local, I know that West Hollywood brings the party, pretty much any time of year. But this summer, the famously LGBTQIA+-friendly city is taking it a step further, welcoming travelers an electric calendar of activities and events, all amid new and wow-worthy lodgings and hospitality venues.
A slew of summer-long events run from June through Labor Day, including the annual Pride parade, a roller skating rink with guest DJs, family nights, and more. Pair any with a stay at recently-opened hotels, including the new Hotel Ziggy on the Sunset Strip, a boutique hotel with a rock-n-roll edge, or the posh new Pendry West Hollywood with a rooftop pool, multiple chef-driven restaurants, a live-entertainment venue, a screening room, bowling alley, spa, and more. I got to visit the Pendry for an Oscar weekend brunch and now know I need to come back for an overnight staycation as soon as possible.
Katy Perry, Carrie Underwood, and reportedly Adele, will have Las Vegas residencies alongside new attractions and hotel renovations.
Las Vegas is as exciting as ever, as the city continually rolls out a steady stream of new hotels, world-class culinary concepts, and entertainment options.
The Las Vegas Strip recently opened its first new ground-up resort in more than a decade with Resorts World Las Vegas. And one of my favorite properties in town, the opulent Wynn Las Vegas, spent $200 million to revamp its rooms, a project that should be completed in June, alongside new restaurants like the celeb hotspot, Delilah, where I recently had an over-the-top dining (and people-watching) experience.
And while I can gladly entertain myself for hours at Vegas’ craps tables alone, there’s so much happening around town right now worth pulling myself away from the casino floor. Book tickets to any of the new shows in town, such as Cirque du Soleil’s Mad Apple, which launches in May at New York-New York, or new artist residencies from Katy Perry, Carrie Underwood, plus Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak) And after the much-publicized drama surrounding Adele’s postponed residency, the artist appears close to a deal to move the show to Planet Hollywood, so fans will be wise to follow the news and get ready to book.
Get outdoors in Greenough, Montana, to hike, fish, and ride horses, and then retreat to luxury lodging.
While skiers will want to save this trip for winter (or even spring, when snow still falls), outdoor lovers of all stripes should embrace the summertime in Montana, particularly in Greenough near the Canadian border.
Here, sunset times hover near 10 p.m. and days are spent horseback riding, hiking, fishing, and rafting on the Blackfoot River. Bring the whole family for a stay at Paws Up Resort, where 37,000 acres create a national park-like vibe on private land. On a recent visit, my kids tried horseback riding for the first time, and got behind the wheel of go-karts on the spectacular wilderness track, and still can’t stop talking about it.
Or, come for a sophisticated adults-only experience at the brand new Green O resort, a secluded woodland retreat with remote treehouse-like accommodations done up in the sleekest design.
Visit New York City in summer for all-American fun, watching a game at Citi Field or riding the roller coaster and eating hot dogs on Coney Island.
As a thin-skinned native Californian, I could never get warm enough during my four winters living in New York City. But the summers are a different story. I think summer in New York is like magic, and there’s no better time to visit the city.
While some New Yorkers might say the city empties out in the summer as many residents head to the beach, I find it comes alive under the sun. Plus, fewer people means it’s easier to snag reservations, and crowds are more manageable. In summer, diners embrace sidewalk seating, aperol-fueled laughter wafts from rooftop bars, Citi Field becomes the go-to spot for all-American fun, and Coney Island’s Cyclone roller coaster (and its hot dogs) are a rite of passage.
Plan a well-located stay at the brand new Hotel Indigo NYC Downtown Wall Street in the Financial District. Just opened this spring, the tower features rooms and spaces with gold accents, rich leathers, and slick details for an Instagram-friendly backdrop to your urban adventure. Some rooms even have perfect-for-summer balconies.
Hit the beach, explore ancient ruins, and swim in cenotes in Cancun, Mexico.
Cancun is one of Google’s top-searched destinations, and it’s easy to see why. The bustling city features stunning resorts fronting some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, and for those looking to dip their toes back into international travel, it’s a quick trip from most US cities.
Whether you’re coming to savor the nightlife, explore ancient history, or do absolutely nothing at all at an all-inclusive hotel on the beach, Cancun has it all. I’ve also used it as a jumping-off point to explore Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula with its many distinctive destinations, such as Mayan ruins alongside gorgeous cenotes, which are natural sinkholes you can swim in. Once-sleepy Tulum is now a well-known hotspot just a few hours away, and the lesser-visited Mayakoba is a complex of upscale hotels built around natural canals for a twist on a beachfront vacation.
But if you’d like to stay in the thick of it, Insider recently rounded up the best hotels in Cancun for every type of traveler, from friends on a budget, to all-inclusive resorts families will love, and luxury seekers who want to be pampered.
Istanbul, Turkey, will celebrate the 50th anniversary of a long-running music festival. Over 18 days, musicians from around the world will perform classical, jazz, ballet, and opera music.
Since I can’t wait until next Coachella to get my music festival fix, I’m considering booking a flight to Istanbul. Not only is it one of my favorite cities in the world, but it also has plans to host the Istanbul Music Festival from June 6 to 24.
This year, the event celebrates its 50th anniversary with 18 days of music across a huge range of genres: classical, jazz, ballet, and opera, with participating musicians from around the world.
The festival kicks off with a performance by the Tekfen Philharmonic Orchestra, and families can check out a performance of “The Nutcracker and I” by Romanian pianist Alexandra Dariescu. German-Japanese pianist Alice Sara Ott will also make an appearance to perform her 2021 album “Echoes of Life,” playing works from icons like Chopin as well as contemporaries.
And since the fascinating and ancient city on the Bosphorus River is the only one in the world to span two continents, there’s so much to explore. Vacation shopaholics like me should bring a spare bag to haul home souvenirs snagged in the dazzling Grand Bazaar.
The World Games, an international sports event held every four years, will take place in Birmingham, Alabama, this summer — the first time in the US in over 30 years.
The World Games is an international sports event held every four years, in the year following each Summer Olympic Games. The 11-day event represents the pinnacle of competition for 3,600 of the world’s best athletes in 34 sports.
And for the first time since 1981, the games are set to be held in the US, in Birmingham, Alabama. Some of the nation’s top athletes in sports like lacrosse, kickboxing, billiards, water sports, and more will gather in Birmingham from July 7 through 17 for the event. For lodging, The Valley Hotel (part of the Curio Collection by Hilton) offers an upscale boutique experience steeped in small-town charm just minutes away from the action.
The CMA Music Festival returns to Nashville in June after a two-year hiatus.
Country music fans can breathe a sigh of relief as CMA Fest is finally coming back to Nashville in June after a two-year hiatus. The festival will take place June 9 through 12, welcoming some of country music’s biggest names to the downtown area.
Located one block from the action, Nashville’s Holston House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and offers luxury amenities, including a rooftop infinity saltwater pool.
For luxury seekers, Conrad Nashville is slated to open this summer as the city’s first ultra-luxe property and will offer a restaurant and terrace lounge from Elizabeth Blau. Steeplechase horse racing, Fourth of July fireworks, boating on the lakes, and big-name concerts across genres round out what’s sure to be an exciting summer.
Orlando is celebrating Walt Disney World Resort’s 50th anniversary.
The most-searched-for city is highly sought after this summer for good reason.
For Disney fans, there’s never a bad time to visit the parks, but this year marks a particularly good time to book a trip as the Walt Disney World Resort is celebrating 50 years. As part of the anniversary celebrations, expect special decorations, entertainment, and more.
If you want to rest your head wrapped in luxury rather than Mickey logos galore, book the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, the only Five Diamond-rated property in Central Florida. The Orlando International Airport is also nearing the completion of a multimillion-dollar renovation, which includes the introduction of Brightline, Florida’s high-speed passenger rail service.
Take a ride on the Buffalo National River in Arkansas and journey from rapids to serene pools while surrounded by massive bluffs.
The first national river to be designated in the United States — the Buffalo National River — turns 50 this year. Located in Northern Arkansas and established in 1972, the river flows freely for 135 miles and is one of the few remaining undammed rivers in the lower 48 states.
Last year’s record of nearly 2 million tourism visitors nods at travelers’ renewed interest in nature. Come for hiking, fishing, horseback riding, paddling, and more, and journey from rapids to serene pools while surrounded by massive bluffs as you cruise through the Ozark Mountains down to the White River. It’s also designated an International Dark Sky Park. Stay in cabins or camp in one of the developed campsites. Bed and breakfast lodgings and motels are available in nearby towns.
Richmond, Virginia, will host a slew of events and festivals all summer celebrating Pride, a Grand Carnivale, and a month of craft beer.
Historic Richmond is alive with summer events this year, starting with the Endless Summer of Pride kicking off the celebrations throughout the month of June.
Then, from June 25 through July 10, check out Kings Dominion’s Grand Carnivale festival, with a larger-than-life parade, a block party filled with dancing, and food from around the world.
Finally, August in Virginia is known as Craft Beer Month, and the Craft Beer Festival. Stroll along the Richmond Beer Trail, which takes beer enthusiasts on a journey through over 32 craft breweries, guided by a Richmond Beer Trail Map.
Cross off a bucket list golf event in St. Andrews, Scotland.
This July, the 150th Open will bow at the Old Course, St. Andrews, and being there could check a bucket-list box for a serious golf fan. This historic anniversary event is preparing to host record crowds as the world’s greatest players descend on the region.
Stay at Rusacks St Andrews, the notable property from the recently launched Marine & Lawn Hotels & Resorts. Occupying an 1800s building, the hotel is steeped in golfing history and overlooks the picturesque town of St Andrews, just a stone’s throw from the famous links.
Yellowstone National Park is 150 years old this year, and reservations to enter the park aren’t required.
Yellowstone National Park, lauded as America’s first national park, is welcoming guests for the 150th year this season. So if you’ve always wanted to visit, now’s the time, amid a swirl of commemorative activities.
While reservations are not needed to enter the park, they are for lodges. Or make it a glamping trip with a stay at Under Canvas Yellowstone — tricked out with West Elm furnishings and upscale, organic bath products.
See the natural phenomenon of bioluminescence in Florida.
According to Next Vacay, the bioluminescence travel trend is picking up with searches for “how to see bioluminescence” recently soaring by 400 percent. And you don’t even need a passport to see the dazzling natural phenomenon.
Instead, come to Florida’s Space Coast, located on the East Coast of the state just south of Daytona Beach, for activities like bioluminescent tours and glass-bottomed kayaking over bioluminescent lagoons. The natural phenomenon most commonly occurs during the summer months; July is the peak season.
Go to the Galapagos in style on a luxury yacht.
This year, a presidential decree expands the Galapagos — already the biggest marine biosphere reserve in the world — by more than 20,000 square miles as a conservation measure.
Visit in serious style aboard the seven-suite Aqua Mare. Having just launched its inaugural expedition on May 6, the yacht offers a choice of two highly personalized seven-night itineraries exploring the Archipelago’s eastern and western regions, as well as two 14-night voyages for the Galapagos Islands’ ultimate bucket-list adventure. Even if you’re searching for luxury and feel prepared to splash out big bucks, be warned this trip isn’t for the average holidaymaker: Rates for the Aqua Mare begin at $9,450 and range to $25,500.
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