Summer travel turmoil may be here awhile – InsuranceNewsNet


If you think travel will return to normal this fall, think again. The craziness you saw this summer – high prices, overbooked hotels and long lines – could be here for a while.

“There’s still pent-up demand for travel,” says Jessica O’Rileya spokeswoman for Travel Iowa. Bookings in her state remain strong during the traditional shoulder season, with camping and cultural events high on her visitors’ lists.

How pent-up is the demand? New research suggests people are as enthusiastic as ever about travel, despite inflation, a weak economy and a lingering pandemic.

A recent survey on Americans’ travel intentions over winter and the early months of 2023 conducted by travel insurance company World Nomads showed that 67% of travelers will book vacations, noting there’s nothing in the current environment that would derail their plans. But there are limits, says Jon Whitbythe company’s general manager for marketing.

“Americans are still eager to travel,” he added. “But they are being more cost-conscious and focused on getting the best value for their money.”

So how do you book a fall vacation?

Here’s what you need to know about the coming fall travel season, from when to book to where to go.

Don’t wait to book your fall trip

High prices, oversold flights and an unstable security situation kept many travelers on the sidelines this summer. They were hoping things would calm down this fall. So now what?

“I think if you wait until everything is quiet and calm, you’ll probably be waiting forever,” said Kathleen Peddicord CEO of Live and Invest Overseas.

Is it worth waiting for the deals? Maybe, says Kyle Potterexecutive editor of Thrifty Traveler. Airfares peaked in early summer and have started to fall, so it might make sense to wait for more deals.

But it’s risky.

“Many domestic fares are more expensive than at any point we can remember,” Potter added. “So it might be time to think bigger and head somewhere abroad.”

But deals can be elusive. And remember, airlines are trying to make up for two lean years. If you find an inexpensive fare for a fall trip, don’t wait. Because chances are, there are thousands of other travelers thinking the same thing: If I can just wait a few more weeks, I’ll pay less. You might – or you might not.

Stay flexible

Because it’s impossible to predict what will happen next, tourism insiders recommend that you book travel that gives you more options, just in case something goes wrong. “I’d encourage you to book flexible reservations wherever possible,” said Kelly Catherinedirector of sales at Hyatt Centric Old Town Alexandria. “And consider travel insurance.” How useful is insurance? It depends on what kind you get. A pricier “cancel for any reason” policy would allow you to call off your vacation and receive a refund of anywhere from 50% to 75% of your prepaid nonrefundable expenses.

Pro tips for your fall vacation

If you see a deal, book now

“Don’t delay,” advised Laura Burdett-Munnmanaging director of luxury tour operator Journeysmiths. “There is still availability, but I think it is unlikely that we will see many last-minute deals appearing.”

Add a one-day cushion – just in case

If you’re taking a tour or cruising, you’ll want to borrow a page from your summer playbook.

Have a Plan B

The new COVID-19 subvariants could severely disrupt travel this fall, warned Ross Caldwell ThompsonCEO of Covac Global, a medical evacuation membership program. His advice: Have a Plan B to get there and back if an airline cancels your flight. “This could include the use of trains, buses or private hire vehicles,” he said.

On Travel

Christopher Elliott

USA TODAY





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