While travel might be on hold as COVID-19 infection rates soar in the U.S., one thing is certain: Americans are looking forward to the day they can start planning more vacations.

Recent data from travel search site Kayak show that flight searches out of U.S. airports are up for several domestic and international destinations in the new year. Although flight searches haven’t recovered to pre-pandemic levels, these are some of the places trending above others. 

Even though many people aren’t traveling far from home right now, it’s easy to see why would-be fliers are researching trips. “While travel has largely been on hold this past year, people are starting to get back out there as vaccine news restores travelers’ confidence,” Steve Hafner, CEO of Kayak, said in a statement.

Most airlines are allowing fee-free changes and cancellations throughout 2021, making it possible to book a vacation now and amend an itinerary later if necessary. If you are interested in booking, be sure to carefully read the fine print associated with your airfare to ensure the flexible policies apply to your specific ticket.

Below are five of the new trending destinations from Kayak’s list. 

View of downtown Atlanta


5. Atlanta

One standout place in Kayak’s data was Atlanta. While searches for flights to Georgia’s sprawling capital city were still significantly lagging behind pre-COVID-19 numbers—they were down 38 percent year over year—it’s nonetheless one of the destinations Americans are most interested in flying to in 2021. After all, it is home to an airport that regularly ranks as the world’s busiest.

There’s no shortage of reasons tourists would be drawn to the city: A bevy of world-class museums, sweeping parks, self-guided street art tours, and diverse international cuisine along Buford Highway all await visitors in the ATL.

One of Anchorage’s many state parks


4. Anchorage

Visits to state and national parks are trending upward around the U.S., and so are searches for flights to Anchorage, a major gateway to Alaska’s natural wonders. Although flight searches are still down 33 percent year over year, it’s clear that American travelers are itching to return to Alaska—most likely for the summer high season, which offers milder temperatures and activities like dog sledding through the backcountry, glacier spotting in Kenai Fjords National Park, mountain biking through Denali National Park, and salmon fishing in Tongass National Forest, just to name a few.

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