We here at Yahoo Travel love a backyard barbecue and baseball games as much the next flag-waving American, but give us a three-day weekend, and you’ve just given us the perfect opportunity to travel farther afield — and we’re not alone. According to booking data collected by online travel agency CheapOair, there’s been a nearly 50 percent increase this year compared with last in Americans who are traveling abroad over the long Fourth of July weekend.
Sure, there may be amazing small towns right here in which to celebrate Independence Day, but with Caribbean beaches and international cities calling (plus some downward trends in airfare), for a larger swath of travelers, this year’s red, white, and rah rah requires a passport.
Here are CheapOair’s 10 most popular international destinations this Independence Day:
Fireworks over London’s Tower Bridge. (Photo: Thinkstock)
No. 10 — London
Love of irony? Nationalistic urge to shove the fact you got a day off in the face of our one-time colonial overlords? Whatever the reason, travelers continue to keep London on their short list for a long-weekend getaway, especially from East Coast gateways where quick redeye flights maximize the vacation time.
Grand Cayman. (Photo: Barry Peters/Flicker)
No. 9 — Grand Cayman
Another British outpost, albeit a sunnier and sandier one, is another top spot for travel this weekend. Although, to be fair, the Cayman Islands do feel rather Americanized, making for superfriendly, no-stress beach getaways, including nonstop flights from 10 U.S. gateways.
San José del Cabo, Mexico. (Photo: Stephen Rees/Flickr)
No. 8 — San José del Cabo, Mexico
West coasters dig this more laid-back sister city to party-hearty Cabo San Lucas on the southern tip of the Baja peninsula. This region is all about the sun, surf, and sea goats.
Cancun. (Photo: Daffne/Flickr)
No. 7 — Cancun
Cancun may be best known for its spring break exploits, but it also has amazing natural wonders and family fun for the kids — and an expansive list of all-inclusive resorts. No wonder it makes for an easy long-weekend escape.
The Bahamas. (Photo: photos_mweber/Flickr)
No. 6 — The Bahamas
Americans are opting for choose-your-own island adventure off the east coast of Florida this Independence Day. Why travelers may waver on the buzz of Nassau or the cool quiet Exuma — or any of the Bahamas’ 700 different cays — is unthinkable, since approximately a 14 percent drop in airfare this year has made the decision to go an easy one.
Mexico City. (Photo: Alex Torres/Flickr)
No. 5 — Mexico City
Forget the barbecue; it’s taco time this Fourth of July. A 32 percent drop in airfares from last year is apparently enough to entice travelers away from Mexico’s beaches and into its hyperurban heart.
Maho Beach, St. Maarten. (Photo: Takashi Ota/Flickr)
No. 4 — St. Maarten
It’s a two-country tour on this tiny bi-national Caribbean island, although it seems American travelers are newly obsessed with the Dutch side. Sorry, France — you might have helped us in the Revolutionary War, but we’re just giving St. Martin a day trip.
Reykjavik, Iceland. (Photo: Kris Williams/Flickr)
No. 3 — Reykjavík, Iceland
Iceland’s cool capital city has shot up in popularity with American tourists this year, making this list for the first time. Three reasons: amazing shopping, sun that never sets in the summer, and some more exotic bragging rights. Oh, and easy easy flights from the East Coast.
Superyacht in St. Thomas. (Photo: Scott Smith/Flickr)
No. 2 — St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
OK, patriotic Americans can have it all — placing this U.S. Virgin Island territory in the second from top spot. Although you may not technically need a passport to visit this 32-square-mile patch of island heaven, you will need some sunscreen for its picture-perfect beaches.
Beach cabana in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. (Photo: Thinkstock)
No. 1 — Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
The top spot for travelers wanting to sink their toes in foreign sand goes to the Pacific Coast’s tourism capital, Puerto Vallarta. It’s a hot spot for eco tours, romance, nightlife, beaches, all-inclusive resorts, restaurants, and almost any other reason you can think of for taking a quick long-weekend getaway — including cheap airfares. What’s more American than spotting a deal?
Justin Ocean is a contributing editor to Yahoo Travel and the New York Post. This Fourth of July he’ll be celebrating on a rooftop in Brooklyn, N.Y., which — despite what his Manhattan friends think — does not require a passport to get to.