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After being stuck in COVID-19 quarantine most of the year, the urge to travel is spreading faster than ever.


Most families are already planning their 2021 post-pandemic vacations, according to Austin-based Vrbo, a popular vacation rental platform similar to Airbnb. Vrbo conducted its first-ever travel survey to find how families are planning their upcoming trips.

"The pandemic makes it tough to predict what travel will look like in 2021," said Melanie Fish, Vrbo's travel expert, in a statement. "The combination of survey and booking data is giving us the most accurate picture possible of the plans families are making for 2021."

Here are three takeaways from the Vrbo travel survey and booking trends:

1. Post-pandemic will look a lot like mid-pandemic

Even after it's safe to travel again, expect some 2020 travel trends to stick around. Vrbo predicts road trips will still be the popular alternative to long-distance flights. In fact, 59% of those surveyed said they would rather drive than take a plane to their desired destination.

That means more trips to outdoor-themed vacations and, because telecommuting is likely to sustain, more working while traveling, according to Vrbo. That allows families to take longer trips than usual.

2. Travelers venture off the beaten path

More vacation rentals are being booked outside of major metropolitan areas as families opt for scenic lakes and rivers instead. This high demand for fishing, camping and hiking hotspots is helping turn otherwise obscure towns into popular places to book.

Vrbo found that 61% of those surveyed would rather visit an outdoor destination, including Emory, Texas, a popular fishing destination about a 75-minute drive east of Dallas. Emory also includes a notable and timely tourism attraction, the A.C. McMillan African American Museum.

3. Anywhere is better than nowhere

An estimated 44% of vacations were canceled in 2020, so next year marks a chance to make up for lost time. About two-thirds of travelers intend to travel more after COVID-19 than they did pre-pandemic, and more than half of those surveyed plan to finally book that bucket list trip.

Cabins are proving especially popular for Vrbo bookings, as are rentals near national parks. At least 1 in every 5 travelers is hoping such a trip serves as self-care after being cooped inside most of 2020.

Learn more about Vrbo travel trends in this full report.

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