Travel is Back! But it’s Tricky…

Can you feel it? The excitement at the prospect of getting out of the house? The thrill when you realize adventure is just about within reach again? As more & more people are being vaccinated, various locales around the world are starting to open to visitors again & as hard-hit travel professionals, we could not be more thrilled! And we aren’t the only ones. It seems quite a few people are interested in exploring the world again, which is great! Except…things are actually quite tricky and you may need help. Let me explain.

Earlier this year, we wrote a blog post about “The Evolution of COVID Travel.” Written in February when vaccines were not available to everyone yet & there were incredible travel deals to incentivize people to get out & go, we predicted that demand would out-weight supply as the year went on & we encouraged everyone to book sooner rather than later. Little did we know how soon that prediction would become reality. In as early as March, we started having clients who could not get what they wanted simply because there wasn’t enough availability. We specialize in Disney travel (though we do everything else too), and we have had more than a dozen groups not end up booking a trip at Disney World because there simply wasn’t enough availability. While I don’t fault Disney for how they are managing things, it is making traveling there very tricky.

Okay. So, don’t go to Disney, right? Sure! Of course! There are many options around the country & we’d be happy to help you with that. Except…we are finding travel is tricky in local markets as well.  Let me give you a personal example. A few days ago, I found roundtrip, non-stop airfare from Salt Lake City, Utah to Fairbanks, Alaska for $118.00. I’m sorry, what?! I thought it was perfect. We went on an Alaskan cruise a few years ago & loved it & I’ve wanted to explore the interior of the state for quite some time.  It seemed like a personal invitation to come to Alaska.

Now, realizing there is a lot more involved in planning a trip than just airfare (see our blog called ‘Help Us, Help You’), I wanted to do some more research before actually buying that non-refundable, albeit cheap, plane ticket. I searched for hotels & things to do & got myself thoroughly excited at the prospect of going. And then…I looked for rental car options. And do you know what I found? NOTHING. I searched & searched & could not find any availability on any of the many websites I have access to as a travel agent or as a normal human who can use Google. Finally, I found a compact car being rented from a local company and guess how much they wanted to rent it for four days? Oh, only $1,700.00. I nearly choked. There was no way I was going to pay that kind of money for four days of a rental car. I could buy a car & use it for a few days cheaper than that. Needless to say, I was very sad & I thought the trip was a bust.

Fortunately, our persistent friend who is traveling with us got creative & started looking at websites for RV & camper rentals & I’m pretty sure we found the one & only car still available in the interior of Alaska this summer. It was only available for three days, but it only cost us about $500 & bonus! It comes with a bunch of camping equipment, so we’ve decided to skip the hotel when we have the car & camp in Alaska instead.

Now, camping in Alaska may sound like a horrible idea to some of you, but for us, it turned out great! However, getting to the point where we felt like the pieces had fallen into place was STRESSFUL. Travel is absolutely possible, but it is tricky right now. Besides the obvious challenges associated with COVID-19, you also have to contend with limited supplies and an over-anxious population aching to get out and travel. So, what can you do about it?

First, USE A TRAVEL PROFESSIONAL. In the best of times, using a travel agent to plan your trips can save you loads of time & often money too (see our blog about ‘Why Use a Travel Agent’). At this point though, you don’t just have the normal travel concerns. You now have the added challenge of COVID requirements & restrictions which often lead to limited availability. I’m a professional & it took me hours & hours over two days to figure out this trip to Alaska. If that doesn’t sound like something you want to take on, you don’t have to! We will do that for you. The travel industry will continue to evolve as it recovers & if you have a travel professional in your corner, you can always be confident you’ll get the best information possible.

Second, PLAN AHEAD. Knowing that demand is currently outweighing supply, it just goes to show that planning ahead is in your best interest. As outlined in my blog ‘Plan in Advance, Pay Over time,’ there are a number of great reasons to plan your trip several months in advance. Often last-minute deals (like my cheap airfare to Alaska), can come with added expenses because it is last minute (like a $1,700 rental car). The further ahead you can plan, the more likely you’ll be able to get what you want at the price you want. That being said, we are already seeing limited availability into the fall of this year for many areas. Which brings us to our next point.

BE FLEXIBLE. If you’re only willing to visit one place & you only have a handful of days to go there that can’t be changed, you may end up being disappointed. Rather, have a few locations in mind that you’d like to visit & try to be as flexible with your dates as possible. Sometimes even just moving your trip a few days will open up the availability you need to have a great vacation. If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I advocate for making a plan (see the blog ‘Planning Never Hurt Anyone’). However, you may have to be flexible while making that plan just due to the nature of the travel industry right now.

Lastly, KEEP DREAMING. As previously mentioned, the travel industry is evolving quickly and constantly. This post isn’t intended to discourage you from traveling, rather to make you aware you may face some challenges that simply didn’t exist prior to the pandemic. That’s okay! There is still plenty of the world to explore. You just may end up exploring a part of it you didn’t expect or in a way you didn’t expect. But what a great time for a new adventure! As always, we are here to help you. To request a quote for your next trip, visit our website: https://woodbreyfamilytravel.com/getaquote.php

Posted on May 13, 2021, in Announcements, Travel Advice, Travel Advice and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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