Now that a COVID-19 vaccine is becoming more widely available, it looks like there may be an end to our time in quarantine. This means that all the things we’ve put on hold like vacations or seeing family may soon be possible again. If you’ve been longing to travel and are wanting to see the sights this summer, it’s not too early to start planning your trip now as there may be a bit of a rush as summer gets closer.
Some international travel may be limited through the year, but domestic travel is on the uptick, so it isn’t too early to start searching for that perfect getaway. The outlook for international travel is still up in the air for some regions, but destinations such as Mexico and the Caribbean are showing fewer restrictions now.
Choosing Your Destination
Remember that a large number of people postponed or rescheduled their vacations from last year, so popular destinations may be already full to capacity with re-bookings. Theme parks may have limited capacity, restaurants may only allow carry-out and there may be other restrictions on tourist destinations such as museums or parks. A vacation while restrictions are in place could prove disappointing if your planned activities aren’t available. Be sure to do your research and/or talk to people you may know who live in the area(s) you’re thinking about visiting. Knowing your options ahead of time is always a good idea.
The earlier you can book lodging, generally the better choices you’ll have for views. Often booking directly with a hotel will garner you lower rates, so don’t be afraid to call and see what offers are available. Because many people are rebooking vacations from 2020, the earlier you book, the better odds of being able to snag the lodging you most want. Be sure to review cancellation policies as many hotels have made canceling your reservations easier than before.
Booking airfare can be tricky regarding pricing. It’s a great idea to go ahead and set up fare alerts from sites such as Google Flights, Hooper or Kayak. You’ll generally find the best rates for domestic flights about 45 days before traveling and at about 75 days for international flights. Being flexible about your dates can also be a huge money saver. Most airlines allow for flexible date searching, so if you have the wiggle room, you can possibly save hundreds of dollars by adjusting your vacation by a few days. Small things like travelling to or from your destination on a weekday could save you quite a bit.
Watch for Fees
Booking fees can be sneaky. Often fees for refundable bookings such as flights and lodging can add quite a bit to your budget. Some places have generous rebooking policies right now, but some travelers are finding it costly to rebook due to quarantine restrictions. Trip insurance may also be helpful, but some policies may not cover cancellations due to COVID-19. Make sure you read the fine print and know the conditions for refunds.
Check Travel Restrictions
Of course, COVID-19 has changed how and where we travel, so before booking anywhere, make sure you check any travel restrictions that your destination may have in place. Some countries require proof of testing or quarantine upon arrival, so do your homework before you get too far into the planning process.
Please also note that things tend to change quickly these days due to the pandemic. We recommend doing your own research before making any final plans.