People are on the move again across the United States and internationally, booking trips at rates the travel industry has not seen over the past two years because of the pandemic. As more people start to ramp up their travel plans, there are new safety precautions to consider as our roadways and flights fill up.
The data support travel experts’ predictions that people are more comfortable traveling this year. AAA Travel bookings have increased 11% over 2019 levels, and more than half of American adults are planning a vacation of at least one overnight stay before the end of next year, according to a recent AAA Travel survey.
Travel demand is rebounding, especially regarding air travel, closer to numbers the industry saw before the pandemic. International and domestic flight searches are up 115% and 212%, respectively, according to the popular travel site Kayak. However, those numbers are still about 50% lower than the 2019 search volume.
Although, if you are looking for flight availability at the very last moment, you can explore websites like Flight Factory (or similar). They might provide special discounts and affordable deals on domestic and international airlines.
Many are foregoing the headache of navigating international travel and staying closer to home. Travel + Leisure is predicting a surge in domestic travel over the coming months. Kayak has evidence of the uptick in car rental rates. The demand for car rentals in the United States this holiday season is up 229% compared to 2019 and up 244% compared to 2020. Experts say this indicates we could experience another car shortage this holiday season.
Busiest Holiday Travel Days Shifting
The busiest travel days may be shifting due to more people working from home and being able to travel more freely. Priceline is reporting that the busiest travel day for the Thanksgiving holiday this year is Monday, December 15, with the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, December 24, as the second busiest.
Travelers are likely taking advantage of work-from-home policies through the Christmas holiday. Currently, the most popular travel day before Christmas is Wednesday, December 22, and the most popular travel day after Christmas is Tuesday, December 28.
Holiday Travel Safety Tips
Considering all the changes we have experienced over the past two years, we pulled together some top tips from the experts if you plan to travel during the next few months:
- Purchase travel insurance. One-third of U.S. travelers say they are more likely to purchase travel insurance for their trips planned between now and the end of 2022. Travelers can have some peace of mind that the cost of their trip is covered for a relatively inexpensive fee with travel insurance. Some international destinations may require visitors to carry travel insurance to cover any unexpected medical costs incurred while visiting. Consider adding Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) coverage to a trip insurance policy so that the trips can be canceled for any reason, including a sudden spike in COVID cases.
- Work with a travel agent. Planning a trip, especially to an international destination, comes with new complications to consider. AAA found that 60% of Americans see the benefit of working with a travel agent to plan upcoming travel. The benefits of working with a travel agent include saving time when researching travel, help in navigating new travel restrictions/requirements, and finding good deals.
- Check government restrictions. If you choose to travel, experts encourage you to check local government restrictions, rules and safety measures related to COVID-19. International travel restrictions may change quickly.
- Know your comfort level and health conditions. Before planning a trip, understand any risk to travel that takes into account your health. Health and travel specialists recommend that immunocompromised people keep holiday travel plans within the United States.
- Avoid traveling on the busiest days. More people on the road and at airports cause travel delays. Plan on traveling outside of the predicted heavy travel days. If you must travel during the busiest times, give yourself plenty of time to navigate crowds and busy roads.
Keep your safety a top priority while traveling this fall and through the winter.
If you or someone you love is injured on busy roadways or by the negligence of another person or entity, it is crucial to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. The team at Panter, Panter & Sampedro has extensive experience across all areas of personal injury. Please call our office at 305.662.6178 to schedule a free consultation today.
Sources: E. Edmonds. (2021, September 21). Pandemic Prompts More Americans to Consider Travel Insurance. Retrieved from: https://newsroom.aaa.com/2021/09/pandemic-prompts-more-americans-to-consider-travel-insurance/; S. Waldek. (2021, September 13). These Will Be the Busiest Travel Days of the 2021 Holiday Season. Retrieved from: https://www.travelandleisure.com/holiday-travel/busiest-travel-days-holidays-2021; A. Ledsom. (2021, August 29). Three Golden Rules for Planning Fall Travel. Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexledsom/2021/08/29/three-golden-rules-for-planning-fall-travel/?sh=2350edb5c708