I hear from so many friends and family about wanting to get away and how they can’t wait for COVID to be over so they can go somewhere other than their backyard! And boy do I get it; my case of cabin fever is quite severe!
While I understand the reluctance to travel right now with COVID cases on the rise, I don’t understand waiting to plan your future travel. A vaccine is on the horizon, and widespread vaccination is predicted by the summer. If you want to travel in 2021, I would strongly recommend starting now, and here’s why!
1. Supply & Demand
Do you know that airlines have cut their flights and inventory to the point that they are booking 40% of what they booked in 2019? And that’s not for just right now, that’s what they’re offering into the future. With the massive financial hit the travel industry has taken and mammoth layoffs the airlines had to impose, they can’t afford to staff the same number of flights previously offered.
This means there is likely to be a run on airline tickets as there will not be enough seats to meet the demand when COVID is gone. But you can book airline tickets 11 months in advance of your return, so you can book flights now for travel well into next fall.
The best reason ever to plan ahead – price! As you know, low supply and high demand leads to increased prices. Anyone who waits to book will see last-minute seats going for a premium.
On the flip side, prices are low right now because people aren’t traveling like they used to. Once those seats start selling, the airlines will start to raise rates; it’s just the way the airline industry works. Groups of 10 or more can lock in today’s low base rates and hold those seats (at no financial risk) until up to 4 months prior to travel!
3. Hotel Availability
All of those folks who made 2020 travel plans and had to cancel will be looking to rebook, and they won’t just be rebooking air. They’ll also be rebooking hotels and trying to take advantage of credits! Airlines have not been the only ones to suffer during this pandemic. Hotels have also taken a hit having to book at reduced capacity and even close for long periods of time. Some have had to close their doors permanently.
The folks rebooking their trips will start to tie up hotel space, to prevent taking a permanent financial loss. If their preferred hotel is booked or permanently closed, they’ll be pushed to another hotel in that chain. We’ll see hotels filling up at faster rates than ever.
4. Travel Tax Holiday
There is currently a travel tax holiday – whoever heard of such a thing?! In an effort to get folks to fly, the government has waived US taxes on airline tickets as long as they are issued before the first of the year. So, that means you can start planning your summer, fall, or even winter trip now. As long as tickets are issued before January, you still get the tax break!
The bottom line is there is nothing to fear from planning in advance and everything to gain! Now is the time to shop and know that come summer you won’t be stuck in your backyard, sitting under the sprinkler, pretending it’s ocean spray! You’ll be on a new adventure – back to exploring the world and meeting new people – the pandemic a distant memory you’re ready to forget.
Have a question about how travel insurance is affected by the pandemic? Check out our article “Does your travel insurance cover COVID-19?“
It’s a big world. Get out there!