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The First Places People Plan to Travel When Widespread Travel Resumes

While we eagerly await getting haircuts and sitting down inside restaurants again, here are the places people plan to visit when the world as a whole reopens.

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During the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has left many countries to resort to a lockdown of sorts, has thousands of hopeful tourists posting on Instagram the places they can’t wait to visit again. Saving Spot took a deep dive into over 200,000 of the 13 million photos posted with the #TakeMeBack to better understand the places people plan to visit once global travel is a reality again.

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disney world. walt and mickey statue with cinderella's castle background.Melvyn Longhurst/Getty Images

Disney World

Unsurprisingly, the Magic Kingdom ranks in the top five dream destination for travelers, per the SavingSpot. Because Disney evokes both a strong sense of nostalgia and a kind of innocence that seems to have been all but lost during the COVID-19 pandemic, it follows that the theme parks and resorts of Disney World in Orlando claiming the top #TakeMeBack spot. Before you go, find out 11 things you need to know about planning a trip to Disney after its reopening.

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After three months since being suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Premier League (along with the English Championship) will restart this week. Even though all the matches will be played without fans inside the stadiums, and despite the West End Theatres remaining dark until at least August, London still ranks as one of the top places people are planning to travel once global travel resumes. It’s clear why: London is the perfect destination for those craving authentic fish and chips, a great cup of tea, the opportunity to peruse the stunning Daunt Books in Marylebone, or simply stroll along the banks of the River Thames taking photos of the London Eye, Tower Bridge, the Shard, Globe Theatre, and the chance to summons National Lampoon’s European Vacation by saying, “Look kids, Parliament, Big Ben.” Check out these 14 hotel deals you can book now for travel next year.

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The Hatteras Lighthouse in North Carolina stands back on the beach behind the dunes.myhrcat/Getty Images

Outer Banks

This sliver of beach perfection in North Carolina is primed to be a popular destination once travel kicks back into gear. “The Outer Banks are among those travel destinations that offer everything: Instagrammable beaches (and lighthouses too!), great food, reasonably priced activities, picturesque towns,” reports Forbes, It’s doesn’t hurt that with wide beaches and plenty of space between rental homes, continuing to practice social distancing is as easy as the breeze blowing in off the Atlantic coast is refreshing. Here are coronavirus mistakes to avoid making as you travel this summer.

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National parks

With COVID-19 still in the news and in the air, many travelers are looking to “America’s Best Idea” for their travel plans once widespread travel resumes. The combination of the great outdoors, fresh air, and freedom to move after months of lockdown at home makes National Parks one of the best travel ideas in the age of coronavirus. Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks rank in the top three of nature destinations travelers are searching for, according to Forbes. Glamping in parks is one of the safest vacations you can take this summer.

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New York City

According to the #TakeMeBack study from over 208,000 Instagram posts in April, NYC seems poised to receive a fair share of its tourists back once travel resumes safely. It was noted that Central Park, Times Square, and the Brooklyn Bridge were three of the top five spots in the whole of America where travelers were eager to plan a return trip. These 15 hidden gems most New Yorkers don’t know about are certainly worth a look, too.

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“The Fontainebleau Miami Beach resort said it was enjoying brisk business after local officials last week lifted a coronavirus shutdown order that had been in place since March,” according to the New York Times on June 8. While the Bellwether Hotel was just at 33 percent capacity, what was notable was who booked over 500 of the property’s rooms: travelers from across the country. This is important in signaling Miami as a prime destination once travel resumes because typically, “In the summer, the hotel fills up largely with Florida residents.” This is what the second wave of coronavirus could look like.

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Riviera Maya, Mexico

This stretch of sandy heaven is already a famously attainable getaway for most Americans and now it is one of the areas, along with Greece, Iceland, and Italy, to reopen to tourists. As travel resumes in the wake of coronavirus, Riviera Maya, Mexico hotels, “will only be allowed to reach 30 percent of their capacity to avoid crowding with more capacity allowed later, with some hotels hoping to reach 50 percent of capacity in July,” according to Afar. This paradise along with nearby Tulum combines to rank high on the list of places people plan to travel to again. This is what travel could look like after coronavirus.

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Las Vegas

You’ll be hitting on 12 with confidence, as well as with panels of acrylic on either side of you, because Vegas is open, baby! MGM properties up and down the strip have enacted a detailed seven-point safety plan, covering everything from sanitizing to distancing to HVAC concerns and even new contactless key entry with smartphones, meaning they are ready to welcome weary travelers who crave top-flight food and entertainment this summer after months of coronavirus lockdown—and if social media is any indication, people are planning a return to Sin City soon. Find out 10 things you won’t be seeing in hotels anymore.

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During the pandemic in April, as would-be travelers hunkered down for safety, they splattered Instagram with photos of the famed Giza Pyramid Complex in Egypt with the hashtag #TakeMeBack. The destination ranked number one in the world as the place people plan to travel once they feel safe. Sadly, it will be some time before tourists can return to see the pyramids because Egypt’s COVID-19 cases and deaths are still rising, with new highs for positive tests and fatalities posted as recently as June 13.

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Paris, France

It’s not only because few things are more delicious than a fresh crepe made for you in the tall shadow of the Eiffel Tower along the River Seine and biting into a crispy, warm pain au chocolat from a boulangerie after months of being stuck safely at home, but Paris ranks in the top five destinations travelers are eager to visit. You may be hesitant to cram into the Metro but that’s OK because Paris is meant for wandering on foot, now with masks on, as you remember what travel was like before the pandemic.

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Bali, Indonesia

This faraway island paradise seemingly built for private, socially-distanced escape ranks second on the survey of the places people are eager to travel to. Before booking that ticket though, know that Bali is ready to welcome tourists but first you will be requiring to, have a negative COVID-19 test before boarding the plane. Find out the bucket list trips that can be planned a year in advance.

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Between Venice and Rome, Italy has several hot spots travelers have expressed a desire to visit and return to once able. And people are now able to do just that! Insider notes that while Italy experienced one of the deadliest coronavirus outbreaks and suffered through Europe’s longest lockdown, “With its 62 million residents self-isolating at home from March 10 to May 4,” the land of pasta and pizza is now welcoming tourists with no quarantine period. Check out the ten family-friendly vacations your teens will love.

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The Netherlands

Amsterdam, Holland’s most famous city, has something for whatever’s been ailing you during the coronavirus crisis this year. In Amsterdam, you can experience art and culture, walk the canals, and enjoy a brownie or two to relax. The good news is that this popular European destination is now welcoming tourists, with health screenings, meaning all those who were begging for someone to “#TakeMeBack” to the land of tulips and bicycles in April, can start researching flights and hotels.

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When you look closely at the #TakeMeBack results, as well as the data Forbes has collected on the places people are searching for and interested in right now, you see that many travelers are extremely ready to plan an exotic Hawaiian beach vacation this summer. In Forbes ranking of the top places Americans are eager to visit, five different beaches in Hawaii make the top ten beach destinations. Sadly, they’ll all have to wait a bit longer as Hawaii recently extended travel restrictions through at least July 31. These are the states hit the hardest by the coronavirus.

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Santorini, Greece

One of the most picturesque islands in the world is an Instagram paradise so it is no surprise that this Greek isle ranks in the top five of places travelers plan on visiting ASAP. The good news: “Greece has reopened its airports to international travelers in the hopes of salvaging this year’s tourism season and easing an anticipated recession caused by coronavirus lockdowns,” reports NPR. However, travelers entering Greece from countries with high COVID-19 infection rates will be required to take a test and be quarantined for up to two weeks, “while restrictions on flights from countries considered high risk—including the United States—will remain in place at least until July 1.” Whet your appetite for more by learning about the 18 best Greek islands to visit in your lifetime.

Jeff Bogle
Jeff Bogle is an Iris Award-winning photographer, avid traveler, and English football fanatic who regularly covers travel, culture, cars, health, business, the environment, and more for Reader's Digest. Jeff has also written for Parents Magazine, Esquire, PBS, and Good Housekeeping, among other publications. He is the proud dad of teen daughters. You can follow his adventures on Instagram and Twitter @OWTK.

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