Lonely Planet Writer

Spring break's most popular destinations for 2019 are closer than you think

An estimated 107 million passengers and crew members will travel between spring break’s busiest period (14 March – 28 April), according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). That’s an increase of more than 3% compared to last year. So where are all these people heading? According to a recent report, San Juan, Puerto Rico is topping the list of most popular spring break destinations of 2019.

Vibrant houses San Juan
Colourful San Juan is popular with spring break tourists this year. Image by ©dennisvdw/Getty Images

Nearly two years after Hurricane Maria, San Juan is starting to regain its stride as a travel destination and tourist numbers are slowly creeping back to their pre-hurricane levels. Travel search engine Kayak declared it the top spring break destination for 2019 after analysing search trends for the busy travel period. It’s the most searched-for destination in 30 of the 50 states with an increase of 115% compared to last year.

Street of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Image by ©mikolajn/Getty Images

So what’s made San Juan so popular this year? It’s the gateway to Puerto Rico and plenty of flight routes, including the addition of daily nonstop flights on Spirit Airlines from Florida and Maryland have made the island more accessible than ever. The island was also in the spotlight this year when Lin-Manuel Miranda brought the hit Broadway play Hamilton to San Juan in January to raise money for hurricane relief efforts. The reprise generated lots of press coverage with messages that encouraged travellers to come back to Puerto Rico, reminding them that the island was, once again, open for business.

Orlando’s theme parks are an irresistible draw for spring breakers. Image by ©Miami2you/Shutterstock

Another popular destination for American holidaymakers this spring break is Florida. Orlando is the top-trending hotspot in the state but Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and Miami are also on travellers’ radars this year. But it isn’t just spring sunshine and beaches that holidaymakers are interested in. European city breaks are proving to be a popular alternative to the traditional spring break vacation. According to Kayak, London, Rome and Madrid are the most searched for European destinations this year with those travelling further afield.

Rome’s ancient sites are hard to beat. Image by ©River Thompson/Lonely Planet

If you need more inspiration, Kayak has broken down the most popular destinations by state so you can see what’s trending in your region.