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Move Over Staycations, ‘Toe Dip Trips’ Are the Travel Trend of 2021
Jodie Griggs/Getty Images

Travel? Never heard of her. But after a year-plus of grief, stress and chaos (school closings…and reopenings…and closings…), you could really use a break. And while you’re not ready to plan that European jet-setting tour you had planned for the family pre-Covid, if you hear the words “staycation” one more time, you might blow a gasket. This is where the “toe-drip trip” comes in. Here’s everything you need to know about the trend. 

What is a toe-dip trip exactly?

Coined by Travelocity, a toe-dip trip is a shorter post-pandemic getaway to help rebuild confidence in traveling before taking booking bucket-list trips. And according to a recent survey from the company, it’s a pretty popular concept: 60 percent of travelers say they’re ready to roam again and are planning a post-pandemic trip within the next nine months. “We may be dreaming of that big bucket-list trip, but what travelers are actually planning so far this year are visits to familiar destinations nearby, weekend getaways or road trips and beach trips,” says Melissa Dohmen, travel expert from Travelocity. 

Does this mean travel is perfectly safe again?

We wish. Wanderlust may have a grasp on our magical thinking, but we can’t forget we’re still in the midst of a pandemic. And even if you’re vaccinated, your kids aren’t, and there’s risk that you and your crew could unknowingly spread (or get!) the virus. So, if you are planning a toe-dip trip, make sure to consider Covid precautions through every step of the way—your family should still wear masks, social distance and keep your hands clean.

So, where are people planning these toe-dip trips?

Of course, it depends on where you live so that you can make your getaway as convenient and as safe as possible—for example, a family from Boston traveling to the Muir Woods in California would be considered a real trip (remember those?), not a toe-dip. With that in mind, here the top regional spots, according to the Travelocity’s experts, for toe-dip trips across the country.

1. Southeast: Tennessee

The Volunteer State is the top family-friendly destination so far in 2021 with four of its cities in the top 20 most reserved destinations, according to Travelocity: Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Nashville and Chattanooga.

2. West: Lake Tahoe, Big Bear Lake and Lake Havasu City 

Families out West have their eyes on these road-trip destinations, in addition to smaller ski towns with mountain views like Mammoth Lakes, California and Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

3. Midwest: Chicago, Detroit and Minneapolis

Big cities in the Midwest are the greatest in demand for weekend getaways and shorter stays (two nights or less). But Kansas City, Lincoln, Nebraska, Indianapolis, Oklahoma City, and Columbus, Ohio are also in the top 25 most reserved by families. 

4. Miscellaneous: Orlando and Vegas

Even in pandemic times, these resort locations remain popular for families with their extra amenities and free cancellations.

Editor’s note: Please remember to follow all social distancing guidelines and local travel recommendations.

RELATED: Is It Safe to Rent an Airbnb or Vacation Home Right Now? 

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