Almost two thirds (63%) of people hope to book a foreign holiday in the year ahead with the US the most sought-after destination, new Abta research reveals.

The classic European hotspots of Spain, Italy, Greece and France are also high on people’s wish lists, according to the poll of 2,000 consumers.

Top long-haul choices include the Caribbean and the Maldives.

Current booking trends from association members point to holidaymakers either choosing to return to familiar destinations in Europe or opting for a more adventurous, bucket list trip – particularly for departures in 2022.

Those making plans to visit the US cited New York, Las Vegas and the beaches and theme parks of Florida as just some of the memorable experiences they hope to share with travel companions.

The results come at a time when all non-essential overseas travel remains banned by government ahead of a May 17 Covid-19 roadmap deadline for the possible lifting of restrictions.

Meanwhile, latest data by research firm Sojern found that the highest percentage of searches by UK travellers over the last 60 days were for Dubai, Maldives and Greece followed by the Canary Islands, Andalusia, Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, Bali, Corsica and the south of France, Malta and Paris.

Abta today issued ten top tips to help people plan and book their trips with confidence.

Communications director Graeme Buck said: “As we’ve been unable to travel for so long, many people will be excited about the possibility of heading off on a long-awaited holiday this year and being able to make those treasured memories once again.

“To offer support and guidance for those who are eager to get away, Abta has put together ten top tips covering everything holidaymakers need to know to book with confidence this year – and have something to look forward to for when travel reopens.”

Buck encouraged anyone thinking of booking a holiday to speak to an Abta member.

“As well as helping their customers to understand what the latest advice means for their travel plans, our members are experts at finding the best holiday to suit their customers’ preferences – and at a competitive price,” he added.

Abta’s ten top tips to take holidaymakers through everything they need to know to book with confidence this year are:

  1. Use the expertise of an ABTA Member to help plan your trip and navigate any restrictions.
  2. Book a package holiday for the greatest level of protection.
  3. Check Foreign Office advice for your destination and sign up to email alerts.
  4. Book early for the best prices and to secure the accommodation and resort of your choice.
  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 your passport is valid for your travel dates, apply for any visas you need and check the travel health advice for your destination at TravelHealthPro.org.uk.
  8. If you’re travelling to Europe, there may be extra steps you need to take ahead of your trip. Visit abta.com/Brexit
  9. As your departure date nears, check the latest Foreign Office travel advice pages and speak to your Abta member travel provider.
  10. With your holiday booked, you can sit back and look forward to heading off on a well-deserved break.