08 Nov

USA second most popular destination for holiday plans over the next 12 months

As the USA opens its borders to UK travellers for the first time in nearly 20 months, ABTA reveals huge pent-up demand for people wishing to jet off to the States.

New data from ABTA reveal almost 1 in 5 (18%)* of people who plan to holiday abroad hope to travel to the USA over the next year – making it the second most popular destination UK holidaymakers say they plan to travel to.

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive of ABTA – The Travel Association said:

“British holidaymakers are now able to enjoy a long-anticipated break in the USA again. The reopening of travel to the US is a very welcome development.

“The USA is currently the second most popular destination on holidaymakers’ wish list for the next year. Pre-pandemic figures show that 4.8 million UK travellers visited the destination in 2019, drawn by vibrant cities, national parks and entertainment venues, with New York and Florida among the most popular destinations.

“The USA is also a destination where people go to study, visit friends and relatives and do business. The reconnecting of the USA and UK is a significant step in the recovery of international travel, helping to re-establish vital trade links which are so vital to the delivery of the Government’s ambition to build a truly Global Britain.”

ABTA has prepared an easy guide for customers on how to plan their holidays at abta.com/readysteadytravel.

Notes to editors
* ABTA consumer trends survey from a nationally representative sample of 2,000 consumers and related to holiday booking habits in the 12 months to July 2021. Fieldwork was conducted in the last two weeks of August 2021 by The Nursery Research and Planning (www.the-nursery.net/).


ABTA’s advice on travelling to the USA from 8 November

What fully vaccinated holidaymakers need to know:

  • You are advised to check the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice for the USA before travelling.
  • As usual, you will need to get a visa or an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) visa waiver to enter the USA as a visitor. For further information, check the US State Department website.
  • You will also need to show proof of being fully vaccinated and proof of a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test taken no more than 3 days before departure or proof of having recovered from COVID-19 in the past 3 months. Lateral flow tests (which are cheaper than PCR) are allowed. If you do a self-test, it must include real-time video supervision from your test provider. 
  • Before boarding your flight, you will be asked by your airline to sign an attestation form to confirm that the information you present regarding your COVID-19 vaccination status and test results are true. 
  • You will need to take a COVID-19 test 3-5 days after arriving in the USA, unless you have recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days before travelling. See Centre for Disease Control (CDC) website for further details.
  • Children under 18 are exempt from the vaccination requirement but those aged between 2 and 17 will need to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test and a test 3-5 days after arrival in the USA. See Centre for Disease Control (CDC) website for further details.
  • Individual states and territories in the USA have their own COVID-19 measures, such as when to wear face masks etc, and some may also have quarantine requirements, which may change at short notice. A full list of local health departments is available on the CDC website and travellers are advised to check the website regularly prior to their trip. 
  • Face coverings are mandatory on aircrafts, trains, buses and at airports when travelling to, from and within the USA.
  • When you get back to the UK, you will need to take a COVID-19 test on or before day two of your return, which can be a cheaper lateral flow test. The UK Health Security Agency website has information on how to find a private testing provider.
  • You will need to complete a Passenger Locator Form up to 48 hours before you return to the UK and provide the booking reference number of your day two COVID-19 test on the form.

Unvaccinated holidaymakers should check the FCDO and the CDC websites before planning their travel, as there are measures specific to these travellers upon entering the US and returning to the UK, including quarantining in both countries and further tests. 


ABTA’s eight top tips for booking and travelling to the USA with confidence from 8 November 

  1. Use the expertise of an ABTA Member to help plan your trip and navigate the latest advice.
  2. Book a package holiday for the greatest level of protection.
  3. Check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice for your destination and sign up to email alerts.
  4. Check what you need to do for your journey back to the UK.
  5. Note that many companies offer flexible cancellation and booking policies.
  6. Take out travel insurance as soon as you book and check its cover for Coronavirus.
  7. Make sure all your travel documents are in order, e.g. your passport validity meets entry requirements and you’ve applied for the visas you need.
  8. With your holiday booked, you can sit back and look forward to heading off on your well-deserved break!


About ABTA

ABTA has been a trusted travel brand for over 70 years. Our purpose is to help our Members to grow their businesses successfully and sustainably, and to help their customers travel with confidence.

The ABTA brand stands for support, protection and expertise. This means consumers have confidence in ABTA and a strong trust in ABTA Members. These qualities are core to us as they ensure that holidaymakers remain confident in the holiday products that they buy from our Members.
We help our Members and their customers navigate through today's changing travel landscape by raising standards in the industry; offering schemes of financial protection; providing an independent complaints resolution service should something go wrong; giving guidance on issues from sustainability to health and safety and by presenting a united voice to government to ensure the industry and the public get a fair deal.

ABTA has more than 4,300 travel brands in Membership, providing a wide range of leisure and business travel services, with a combined annual UK turnover of £39 billion. For more details about what we do, what being an ABTA Member means and how we help the British public travel with confidence visit www.abta.com.