PHOTO: The beach at the adults-only, all-inclusive Excellence Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. (Photo via Flickr/Ted Murphy)
More than four in 10 Americans (42 percent) plan to take a vacation in 2017, according to recent research from AAA, and nearly one-third of American adults (30 percent) say they are more likely to take a vacation this year than compared to 2016.
Wisely, most of those vacationers are set to head somewhere warm.
Based on AAA travel bookings, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic is the top international destination this year, overtaking Rome and topping Montego Bay, Jamaica; London and Nassau, Bahamas.
Unsurprisingly, a majority of the top destinations are warm weather places boasting world-class beaches. With much of the country in the midst of a winter chill, it makes sense that Americans are dreaming of sunshine and warm ocean breezes.
Domestically, Americans once again have their sights set on Orlando, Florida. Trailing the Theme Park Capital of the World are Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Anaheim, California; Miami and Las Vegas.
Meanwhile, AAA reveals that the destinations receiving the biggest increase interest in 2017 are Melbourne and Sydney, Australia; Toronto and Vancouver, Canada and Cancun, Mexico. Canada, in general, has emerged as a premier vacation destination for Americans in 2017. The country will not only celebrate its 150th birthday this year but offers U.S. travelers a favorable exchange rate.
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Overseas, Iceland and Ireland are expected to attract more Americans this year as airlines like WOW Air offer tremendous international flight deals.
In the U.S., national parks should remain a hit with vacationers, with 79 percent of Americans telling AAA that they are as likely or more likely to visit a national park through the first half of this year than compared to 2016.
Experiential travel and river cruising are two other trends to watch for in 2017. AAA points out that there's been an increase in tour bookings that allow visitors to interact with locals and experience new cultures and also reveals that the all-important millennial market is more likely to consider a river cruise than Generation Xers and Baby Boomers.