After more than a year of masks, hand sanitizer and carry-out meals, a survey by AAA-Iowa finds Iowans are over the pandemic and they’re more than ready to return to vacations and traveling.

Meredith Mitts, a spokeswoman for the motor club, says traveler confidence is soaring.
“What we have seen from our travel surveys that we field quarterly is that three-quarters of Iowans are more comfortable taking a trip and traveling now than they were three months ago,” Mitts says, “which is really exciting for the travel industry and for anyone who’s been itching to travel.”

Over the course of the past three surveys, she says Iowans’ comfort level has significantly increased as their concern about COVID-19 waned. “Some of our top reasons are: People are confident in the COVID-19 vaccinations,” Mitts says. “They are more confident in the safety measures that have been implemented nationwide. They are also less afraid of the dangers of the virus now that it’s not quite so new and unknown and as we know a little bit more what to expect.”

Of those who are already or plan to be vaccinated, 44% say travel was a motivating factor in doing so. Where are Iowans wanting to go? “The top couple of destinations we’re seeing for Iowa is major cities and metro destinations, whether that’s going to Des Moines or coming to a neighboring state and going to visit Minneapolis or Chicago,” Mitt says. “We also are seeing a rise in national and state parks, followed by beach or lake destinations.”

The survey also finds a growing number of Iowans are back on board with the idea of taking a cruise. “Our data shows that almost half, about 42%, feel comfortable taking an ocean or river cruise,” Mitts says, “with about one-third of Iowans planning to take a cruise in the next couple of years.”

The survey shows two-thirds of Iowans have already traveled or plan to take a trip in 2021, while more than half of those will take their next trip between July and September