Top travel destinations for this summer

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After a harsh winter that put most of the nation -- including the Sun Belt -- in a relentless deep freeze, it probably comes as no surprise that most vacationers this summer are headed to the beach and other sunny locales.

More people plan to hit the road over the next three months compared with the same period in 2013, according to a recent survey by TripAdvisor and the research firm Ipsos. And most seem to be seeking that feeling of warm sand between their toes.

From TripAdvisor, the online travel site:

Top 10 U.S. summer destinations:

1. Myrtle Beach, S.C.

2. Las Vegas

3. New York City

4. Destin, Fla.

5. Ocean City, Md.

6. Orlando, Fla.

7. Virginia Beach, Va.

8. San Francisco

9. San Diego

10. Key West, Fla.

Only New York City, Las Vegas and Orlando were on last year's top 10 list for summer travel.

Its list of favored international destinations introduce new cities to the mix, including its top pick of Istanbul.

Top 10 international destinations

1. Istanbul

2. Rome

3. London

4. Beijing

5. Prague

6. Marrakech, Morocco

7. Paris

8. Hanoi, Vietnam;

9. Siem Reap, Cambodia;

10. Shanghai, China.

Last summer's list also included Paris, New York, London, Rome and Prague.

What will all of these summer travelers be doing while they are away from home? The most popular activity, according to the same survey, is shopping. Fifty-four percent of respondents plan on spending time and money shopping while on vacation. Swimming and watersports are preferred by 49 percent as well as visiting a historical sight or event. Forty-six percent of vacationers plan to go to a park or national park and take sightseeing tours.

Most travelers plan to stay in hotels, with a smaller percentage staying in vacation rentals or bunking with friends or family.

For those who prefer home stays and unusual lodgings, booking an accommodation through Airbnb may be their preference. Their list of top 10 U.S. hot summer destinations differs from the previous list, possibly signaling that people who prefer this type of stay have a different idea of the perfect getaway.

Airbnb's top 10 U.S. hot spots:

1. Nashville

2. New Orleans

3. Palm Springs, Calif.

4. Portland, Maine

5. Santa Barbara, Calif.

6. Oregon Coast

7. Adirondacks, N.Y.

8. Denver

9. Orange County, Calif., beaches

10. Boulder, Colo.

Another choice for summer travel is to let someone else do the driving and take a trip by charter bus.

Sue Anderson-Nicklin, vice president of Anderson Coach and Travel in Greenville, Mercer County, said that "their typical demographic includes a lot of last-minute bookers, but they expect an increase in travelers this summer."

Its top destination year-round continues to be New York City. Summer trips are specially designed to include seasonal concerts and activities.

They have also seen an increase in travelers to Nashville, Tenn. She speculated that this interest may be connected to the ABC television show "Nashville" and its local popularity.

Lorri Drumm: or 412-263-3771.

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