Here’s what to expect from your summer vacation
- 73% of American consumers feel “positive” about travel, according to a study by CarTrawler.com.
- Travelers can expect services to be slower as new staff catch up.
- TripIt’s Jen Moyse predicts that travel will cost more this summer.
Here’s what you need to know about traveling this summer: You’ll pay more, worry more, and you might even take a detour or two. But nothing, and I mean nothing, is going to stop you from taking a vacation.
According to a recent survey by CarTrawler.com. In practical terms, that means 73% of Americans will be flying somewhere by June, according to a Concur’s recent TripIt survey. Another 60% will do a road trip. (There is some overlap because some do both.)
And 41% of defiant Americans in a recent poll by World Nomads say nothing will stop them from going — not war, not inflation, not COVID. Nothing.
“But the focus of these trips has changed significantly,” says Jon Whitby, chief marketing officer for World Nomads. “Travelers have gone from reconnecting with family and friends to exploring and relaxing.”
Yes, this summer will definitely be an interesting time to travel.
“The easing of pandemic restrictions has triggered two years of pent-up desire to travel,” says Damian Tysdal, founder of the travel insurance site CoverTrip.com. “At the same time, restrictions are not being eased evenly across all areas. This will lead to many excited but confused travelers trying to figure out how to manage their travel.”
Here’s how to deal with excitement and confusion:
It’s not the same old travel industry
COVID has changed travel forever. Experts fear that travelers will quickly forget the past two years.
“What worries me is that many travelers expect travel to be normal – like in pre-COVID normal,” says Lisa Pagotto, director of twisted compass, a tour operator. “It is important to remember that many hotels, tour operators and transport companies have not been operating at full capacity for some time.
This means that services may be slower while new staff get up to speed. Hotels may offer reduced services, such as housekeeping and meals. And you can still see health and safety protocols, like mandatory masking and social distancing.
Be prepared to pay more
“Raising airfares is a priority,” says Jeff Klee, CEO of CheapAir.com.
He says the key is to book early. According to CheapAir.com 2022 Airfare Study, the cheapest day of the week to fly is Wednesday, and the cheapest month to fly is August. So there is still time.
Jen Moyse, vice president of product for TripIt, predicts that travel will cost more this summer, especially with inflation and rising gas prices.
“Set aside some extra cash,” she advises. “It can help you avoid negative and stressful financial situations before or after the trip.
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Gas prices will cause detours, but not cancellations
Fuel prices have flirted with record highs in the United States, but here’s something you need to know: Instead of pushing Americans to cancel their summer vacations, these prices are simply prompting travelers to change their plans.
Jessica O’Riley, spokesperson for Iowa tripsays worries about rising gas prices aren’t translating into cancellations.
“People will change their movements,” she predicts. “Maybe they won’t travel as far or as often. Or they’ll compromise to compensate for higher gas prices, perhaps spending less on eating or staying with family and friends rather than in a hotel.”
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But they will go anyway. Car trips to Iowa are up nearly 15% from 2019, the last pre-pandemic year. And Iowa had the second-highest recovery rate in the nation this winter.
“I think people still see travel as a birthright, and they’ll make the tradeoffs to take the trips they feel they’ve been missing out on for the past two years,” O’Riley says.
you are going to worry a lot
A recent survey from the travel insurance company seven corners found that Americans will spend a lot of time worrying about their travels.
What are they concerned with? Nearly half of all Americans (49%) planning to travel to the United States listed cost as their top concern. Other fears include getting stuck in another country if they test positive for COVID (13% of international travellers) and difficulties tracking and following COVID testing requirements (9%).
The concern goes with the territory, of course. And while there’s no way to remove the risk of travelling, after all, isn’t that what makes it exciting? – you can hedge your bets.
Angela Borden, product marketing strategist at Seven Corners, says many travel insurance policies include COVID coverage and can help cover medical expenses. If you’re a real scaredy cat, you can pay extra for a ‘cancel for any reason’ policy, which allows you to cancel your vacation and get 50%-75% of your non-refundable prepaid fees back.
“With ‘cancel for any reason’ travel insurance, you can cancel your trip due to financial hardship, fear of traveling due to COVID, hostilities at your destination, or just about anything want,” says Borden.
Yes, Europe is problematic
Before COVID, Europe was a top destination for American summer travelers. But this year, observers like Omar Kaywan, co-founder of the insurance app Goose Insurancesays he expects Europe won’t be as popular.
“Even though many travel restrictions are being lifted and we expect a busy travel season in 2022, the conflict in Eastern Europe has raised some concerns among travellers,” he said.
Other observers agree that Europe is a problematic destination.
“One of the biggest concerns about summer travel this year is the uncertainty surrounding the ongoing war in Ukraine and its impact on travel plans in Europe,” said Mike Hallman, CEO of Medjet.
Interestingly, most major European tourist destinations are far from the conflict. (Television reporting isn’t always effective at putting wars into meaningful geographic context.) Hallman says travelers to Europe should keep abreast of the State Department Travel Advisory and register for the Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Programa free service that warns travelers in the event of a serious problem at their destination.
How to save on a last minute trip
It may seem like it’s summer to stay home, but that could be a mistake. If you’re flexible with your vacation dates, avoiding the busiest times like Memorial Day and July 4, you can still find reasonable flights, hotel rooms, and vacation rentals.
Expedia spokesperson Christie Hudson says to save money by bundling your flight, car and hotel. Many online travel agencies offer these packages. On Expedia, she says travelers save an average of $600 when they group together.
Flexibility can also help you get a lower rate on a vacation rental. Demand for Vrbo properties typically drops after the peak of the summer travel season. So if you have flexible travel dates, look for vacation homes in late August or September when competition is less fierce and prices are generally lower.
Have a great summer vacation
Chances are you’re going somewhere this summer, even if you’re not entirely comfortable with the idea. You’re more likely to get insurance, and if you play your cards right, you might even end up with a deal.
And you will be in good company. Tour operator internal data smartTours suggests that two-thirds of Americans will plan a vacation, which is consistent with other traveler surveys. The world won’t quite be their oyster, though.
“Travelers don’t feel safe traveling to Eastern Europe this year,” notes Christine Petersen, CEO of smartTours“Only 6% of travelers surveyed said they felt safe in this region.”
Summer trips will be more expensive and worrying, and you may have to choose another destination. But cancel? Not this year.