Survey: Colorado Summer Travel Surges

Historic demand = high prices, limited availability. 


DENVER (May 11, 2023) - If you haven't booked your summer travel plans yet, don't delay: Historically strong bookings for cruises, tours, hotels, and flights have strained inventory and sent prices skyrocketing. In 2023, "last-minute deals" are a thing of the past, plain and simple. 

"While most Coloradans plan to travel this year, very few have actually booked those plans," said Skyler McKinley, regional director of public affairs for AAA. "As international travel restrictions lift, economic concerns ease, and the weather warms, travel demand may exceed travel capacity - which can lead to headaches and high prices for those who wait too long to book."

More than Half of Coloradans Plan to Take a Summer Vacation

A new AAA travel survey finds that 82% of Coloradans will travel this year, with 59% planning to take a summer vacation. Less than a quarter (22%) of summer travelers have finalized those plans. 

The most popular destinations among Coloradans are:

• 39% - National/State Park
• 33% - City/Major Metro Destination
• 32% - Beach Destination
• 27% - Lake Destinations
• 20% - Theme Park 

Top Summer Traveler Stats & AAA Travel Tips

84% of Coloradans plan to take a road trip. Leave early. Expect congestion in mountain resort areas and near attractions, particularly on weekends and holidays. Traditionally, gas prices peak in the spring and fluctuate through the summer. 

11% will not get a vehicle inspection before their road trip. AAA urges drivers to ensure their vehicle is road trip ready. You can find a trusted local mechanic by visiting

45% plan to take a commercial flight. To reduce the likelihood of flight delays or cancellations, book a non-stop flight that leaves early in the morning. Arrive at the airport at least 2 hours early. Download the airline's mobile app to receive updates about your flight status. Consider travel insurance, which provides coverage options for flight cancellations and delays (see below for more).

9% plan to take a cruise . Summertime sailings are filling up fast. In many cases, travelers are looking at 2024 departures to find the itinerary they want. Travelers who book a cruise with an expert travel advisor may be eligible for discounts and benefits like early boarding, specialty dining upgrades, and onboard credits. Travel advisors can also unlock additional savings on your airfare when bundling with your cruise.

41% plan to rent a car . Rental car availability has improved, though inventory will often still be tight at airports as a function of strong demand. Rates are often more expensive the closer you get to your desired rental date, so book early for the best combination of availability and price. AAA members can also receive up to 20% off base rates at Hertz car rental locations.

International travel bookings are up more than 200% compared to 2022. Ensure your passport is up to date. Strong demand and pandemic-related backlogs have led to passport processing delays. Wait times have increased from 8-11 weeks to 10-13 weeks - or more, with mailing time. AAA members get exclusive rates on expediting services for U.S. passports and global travel visas at

The new normal: Travel insurance is a must! There are a variety of reasons travelers use it: medical emergencies, flight cancellations, severe weather, or unexpected life events.

• Cancel for any reason . These policies enable travelers to cancel their trip for covered reasons allowing the policyholder to recoup non-refundable deposits.

• Flight cancellations. If your flight is cancelled, passengers can receive compensation for covered out-of-pocket expenses.

• Flight delays. Policyholders could be reimbursed for flight delays of as little as three hours.

• Medical coverage. International travelers can get policies that provide medical coverage, since their health benefits in America do not generally extend outside the United States.

Plan ahead! Whether it's mapping out gas stations or electric vehicle charging stations along your route and at your destination, or planning which attractions and activities you want to visit when you arrive, AAA offers TripTik and Trip Canvas, two free travel tools to keep you organized and prepared. 

About the AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey
The AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey was conducted online among residents living in Colorado from April 20 - 27, 2023. A total of 400 residents completed the survey. Survey results asked of all respondents have a maximum margin of error of ± 4.9% points. Responses are weighted by age and gender to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the adult population (18+) in Colorado.