Travel restrictions are lifting across many of the most popular destinations and families across the country are looking to take in some new views. After more than two years of monotony, many are hoping for the chance for rest and relaxation in a new town. While many continue to recover from the financial hiccups inspired by the pandemic, travel agents are dishing about the best places to travel without breaking the bank.
Solo adventures, girls’ trips, family vacations or destinations with bae are all up for grabs this travel season. Recently, airlines have announced mask mandates have been lifted and many countries have opened their borders to visitors. With COVID seemingly in the rear view, vacation travel is beginning to ramp up.
“Unless you had access to a camper, the travel world was essentially at a standstill for the first time that I can remember in my lifetime. In most cases the government put several restrictions on travel, but in reality, people were scared. COVID was the unknown and the news was changing every day,” said Sharise Crumley, owner of Postcards From Everywhere. “Two years later travel is starting to pick-up again and people are feeling more comfortable with the idea of getting back to their pre-pandemic lifestyle but still holding on to the health and safety measures that they started to implement into their daily lives like traveling with cleaning wipes and sanitizer.”
Travelers who are looking for fun yet economically savvy ways to travel may be at an advantage this year. As the economy slowly begins to recover, travelers may find some of the best deals available for the season. However, it will require some effort to ensure the best bang for the buck.
“Plan! Planning in advance typically allows you to get lower rates. With inflation at an all–time high, last-minute deals are almost null and void especially with airfare. I highly suggest, if possible, to plan at least a year out,” said Brittany Frye, owner of B-Travels.
Quick trips can be refreshing, but they can also cost travelers a pretty penny. With summer holidays fast approaching, many may be tempted to celebrate outside of their home states. However, holidays can be one of the most expensive times to travel.
“Although this may be a little easier said than done, my number one tip is to avoid traveling on holidays. I tend to travel the weekend before or the weekend after. If you do travel on holidays, try to book tickets for a day before and leave a few days after, prices for flights will typically be less,” said Crumley.
Foreign destinations have become a hotspot for travelers. The sights, weather and change in scenery help to add to the lure. Though international travel can be expensive for some locations, popular tourist spots are still seeing record lows in pricing without compromising the experience.
“The most popular destinations over the last few years have been Mexico — Cancun and Tulum — Miami and Jamaica. They all offer affordable accommodations, warm weather and any number of excursions or activities. They’re close enough to most people for a long weekend trip but far enough away to feel like you’re getting a nice escape from reality,” said Crumley.
As restrictions are lifted, travelers remain cautious about the pandemic and making large financial investments, such as vacations. Creating additional room in savings can be difficult in these times, but savings can help to secure the funds needed for travel.
“Create a budget, decide how much money you would need to set aside monthly to make your dream vacation happen. Also, look to traveling during the off season. Consider getting an airline credit card to help accumulate miles, which can possibly get you a free flight,” said Frye. “Most trips are not out of reach if you plan.”
For those who still have some reservations about vacationing due to the pandemic, local and domestic travel are best to test the waters. They will also be the most financially effective in most cases.
“Those who are still cautious about COVID, what are some travel recommendations for them?
I would recommend starting off small. Do a quick day trip to try and warm up to traveling again,” said Frye. “It definitely can be overwhelming the first time traveling since the pandemic started. Also, try to avoid any popular events for the first time.”