These destinations are great for less-crowded vacations. Here's why you should consider a 'second city' trip – USA TODAY

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Even in case you’re totally vaccinated, you may not need your subsequent journey – maybe your first journey in over a yr – to be in a packed, city metropolis. Enter the “second-city” journey.

Second metropolis is a considerably ambiguous time period, nevertheless it’s usually used to discuss with the second-most populous metropolis in a area, state or nation. Some interpret it to increase out to the third, fourth and even tenth most populous cities in an space. In brief: Skip the sprawling, extremely populated metropolis for a smaller, much less people-dense location.

Many individuals are doing so. A complete of 69% of respondents within the March 2021 American Specific International Journey Tendencies report mentioned they’re fascinated by visiting lesser-known locations this yr – and right here’s why you would possibly contemplate them, too.

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Keep away from crowds

The obvious motive to skip the massive cities in 2021: Keep away from being round throngs of individuals because the COVID-19 pandemic continues. The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention says that attending occasions and gatherings will increase your threat of getting and spreading COVID-19.

Cut back overcrowding

As folks make up for the holidays, household reunions and weddings they missed in 2020 and early 2021, the tourism business is making ready for one of many busiest journey seasons but. Transportation Safety Administration knowledge exhibits a number of days in Might 2021 which have set new checkpoint information for highest passenger throughput because the starting of the pandemic.

Reviews recommend that the journey business is stretched to its limits in some areas.

Corporations that laid off staff final yr now have extra buyer demand, making a predicament as they attempt to rehire former staff or shortly rent and prepare new ones. And whereas U.S. unemployment stays excessive, many companies say they will’t discover sufficient staff, with tourism-adjacent industries, like eating places, particularly affected.

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After greater than a yr of restrictions and lockdowns, the tons of of eating places on the Las Vegas Strip, for example, could be overwhelmed with the surge in vacationers. However whereas flashy Vegas eateries get overrun, a sleepier, less-touristy close by city that has been catering to locals all through the previous yr possible gained’t really feel as overburdened by your go to.

You may not need to fly

Whereas the CDC has declared home air journey comparatively protected for totally vaccinated vacationers, you should still be feeling hesitant.

Certain, you’ll need to fly for that journey to Mexico, however you possibly can additionally contemplate a street journey to a second metropolis nearer to house.

In case you stay in Los Angeles, you would possibly go glamping in Santa Barbara, California. In case you stay close to Houston or in most Louisiana cities, it takes only a few hours to drive to the epicenter of Cajun delicacies in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Lengthen your journey and take a ‘workcation’ 

Some vacationers would possibly decide to go to each the main metropolis and the second metropolis. In case you sat double-masked for six hours on the aircraft to fly throughout the nation to San Francisco, you would possibly as nicely maximize your journey by staying in Northern California for a number of weeks or a month. Take your time; sip on Chardonnay in Sonoma or chill out within the cabin after snowboarding in Lake Tahoe.

That is a part of the pattern of workcations, the place you guide lodging for longer than normal, however nonetheless work eight hours in your (digital) workplace. As a result of you possibly can work remotely, you would possibly be capable to journey extra days than normal whereas concurrently working.

The most effective second cities to think about

Listed below are the largest cities within the U.S. – and a second-city counterpart value visiting:

►As a substitute of New York Metropolis, contemplate Cape Might, New Jersey: With the ocean on one aspect and grand Victorian houses on the opposite, sprawl out on the seaside with expansive views.

►As a substitute of Los Angeles, contemplate Joshua Tree, California: Go tenting (or glamping) amid rugged rock formations.

►As a substitute of Chicago, contemplate Chesterton, Indiana: Search for wildlife at Indiana Dunes Nationwide Park, which spans 15 miles of the Lake Michigan shoreline.

►As a substitute of Phoenix, contemplate Flagstaff, Arizona: You would possibly make a cease when driving Route 66. Relying on the season, you might discover snow.

►As a substitute of Houston, contemplate Conroe, Texas: Whether or not you like fishing boats or occasion boats, Conroe is understood for its lake actions.

Journey business is ready for second-city journey 

New airways (or new routes on legacy carriers) have emerged with routes to smaller cities, and inns are opening there.

This spring, Southwest introduced plans for brand spanking new routes to cities together with Santa Barbara, California; Myrtle Seashore, South Carolina; and Bozeman, Montana.

Equally, Hyatt opened a boutique lodge in Tennessee’s second metropolis of Memphis this spring, and one other in Merced, California – a brief drive from Yosemite Nationwide Park.

Your worldwide journeys could be on maintain, and relying on town, you continue to may not be capable to dine indoors. Journey is totally different now, however that’s not essentially a foul factor. Get inventive with the locations you go to, and don’t overlook the advantages of second cities.

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This text initially appeared on the non-public finance web site NerdWallet. Sally French is a author at NerdWallet. E mail: sfrench@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @SAFmedia.

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