Mar 28, 2024 - Travel

Where New Orleanians are going for spring break this year

Illustration of a welcome mat at the edge of the ocean.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Spring break is next week for many schools in New Orleans metro.

Why it matters: More Americans are traveling for spring break this year compared with last year, AAA data shows.

The big picture: Cruises and Florida beach trips are the most popular options with travelers this year, AAA says.

  • Gulf Shores, Destin and 30A are beach favorites for New Orleanians. Bay St. Louis is also an easy day trip.
  • Walt Disney World and Universal Studios are popular too.

Between the lines: Spring break in New Orleans is a little later than elsewhere in the country, but schools here also get out a week for Mardi Gras.

Zoom in: Spring break is one of the busiest times of the year for cruises out of New Orleans, Port of New Orleans spokesperson Kimberly Curth says.

  • All cabins on every vessel are full, she said. Many cabins have three to four passengers per cabin this time of year instead of two.
  • The spring break season for the port lasts about a month, Curth said.

By the numbers: Nationally, cruise bookings are up 28% for March and April compared to last year, AAA says.

  • Many spring break cruises have been sold out for months, the report adds.
Photo shows the Carnival Valor cruise ship leaving the Port of New Orleans
Carnival is one of several cruise lines with regular sailings from New Orleans. Photo: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Meanwhile, about 6% more Americans are expected to fly for spring break compared with last year, TSA says.

  • Specific numbers for New Orleans weren't available, but other big airports like O'Hare in Chicago project today will be the busiest day for spring break travel.
  • Bookings for international spring break trips are up 20% compared with last year, AAA says. Top destinations include London, Paris, Rome, Dublin and Amsterdam.

Friction point: Parking often fills up on popular travel weekends at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.

  • Spots were available in all the garages as of Thursday morning, according to the airport's real-time tracker. Note that prices went up this month.
  • Travelers are encouraged to use ride-share services or pre-book a parking space.
  • TSA says longer than usual wait times are possible at MSY, and travelers should arrive early.

Zoom out: March through July are the most popular times for Southerners to travel, the AAA report found.

  • Along with cruises and beaches, popular vacation destinations include theme parks, international trips and national and state parks, AAA says.

Meanwhile, "coolcations" are catching on too. This is when travelers book summer vacations in colder climates to avoid the heat, writes Axios' Jennifer A. Kingson.

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