As we move ahead into 2021, one of the big questions on everyone’s mind – especially in the travel and hospitality industries – is when will it be safe to travel again? Recent data has shown that, on multiple days in the second half of December, over a million people have passed through domestic airports, marking the busiest travel days since March. These numbers show us that many people are anxious to resume travel, but until a vaccine is readily available and various restrictions are dropped, many will follow the suggestion of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and stay close to home to lessen the risk of catching and spreading the virus.

However, there is an increasing level of optimism among those in the travel industry that we could be in for a banner year as quickly as 2021 when pent up demand will mean that travel will explode as soon as it is deemed safe. The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of several vaccines in a short period of time has shown many of us the light at the end of a very long tunnel. In fact, many say a vaccine could be available for the general population in the second quarter of the year, and many experts expect most people to be raring to go on those trips that they may have had to cancel in 2020.

While travel may look different in 2021, many people are still planning to go to the same kinds of places they did before COVID-19. The expectation will be that among the most popular destinations in 2021 will be countries and destinations that have responded well to the pandemic. Studies from the World Economic Forum show that places like Japan and Australia, both of which are known for their health and hygiene as well as their tourist infrastructure, maybe well-positioned to recover quickly. Beach destinations and those where people may be able to get some much-needed personal space will also be popular.

To get the lowdown on where some travel experts are looking to go for their next vacation as soon as it is deemed safe to do so, I polled a few members of the LHG staff for their insight:

Rachael Moss: I have had to cancel a few trips to visit friends in New York City and would love to reschedule once COVID-19 is a thing of the past. My friends and I often fantasize about buying a new outfit (on Fifth Avenue of course!) and treating ourselves to a night out in a lively restaurant with lots of good food and wine.

Kelsey Donnelly: As soon as it feels safe, my husband and I plan to travel. We were supposed to attend two weddings in 2020 and both were canceled or postponed, so a trip seems long overdue. Our favorite place to stay is The Mermaid and The Alligator bed & breakfast in Key West and I can’t wait to eat dinner again at El Meson De Pepe’s in Mallory Square.

Liz Berman: In 2021 and once COVID-19 restriction subsides, I’m looking forward to going to Aspen, Colorado to see one of my closest friends and celebrate my birthday (hopefully this can happen in March!). Aspen is a picturesque vacation destination and an easy choice because of its beautiful scenery, outdoor recreation options and ski scene. I can’t wait to visit this small mountain community that exudes good vibes and fun times – something everyone needs post quarantine.

Nicolette Giordano: The next trip that I’m planning is going to be for my bachelorette party in June. As of right now, we are planning on going to Virginia Beach & Norfolk so we can enjoy good food, nice weather, time on the water and hopefully some wine. We wanted to plan something that would be easy to get to and relaxing but fun.

Carlyn Topkin: I’m looking forward to traveling more throughout Spain. Madrid has a special place in my heart after studying abroad there in college, but I can’t wait to continue eating (+ drinking!) my way through the rest of the country and taking in an amazing culture.