RICHMOND, Virginia (WRIC) – Days go by until the last bell rings to signal the start of summer to students across Virginia. For those hoping to book travel, travel trends and coronavirus restrictions change rapidly, making planning especially important.
AAA Vice President of Leisure Travel Chip Morgan said this summer’s travel is expected to reach pre-pandemic levels, possibly even surpassing travel trends in 2019.
âThe rollout of vaccines, especially with the increase in the daily rate that we saw in the spring, has certainly increased the level of consumer confidence in travel,â Morgan said. “We’re seeing a number of travel trends this year, if you will, and one of those trends we’re seeing is something we call revenge spending.”
According to AAA, revenge spending occurs in a situation where consumers have additional resources to use. During the coronavirus pandemic, vacations have been canceled or suspended.
âThey couldn’t travel last year and want to make up for lost time,â Morgan said. âWhat we are seeing is spending more, staying longer. So a lot of people are improving their homes. “
With COVID-19 restrictions in place, Debra Calvert, general manager of AAA’s automotive travel and travel products and services, said many travelers rely on their cars, as opposed to air travel, boat travel. or by train.
â2021 is certainly shaping up to be the year of the great American road trip,â she said. âAAA has seen an increase in TripTik demands, where we’re almost back to 2019 levels. So people are really ready to hit the road and explore America. “
Keeping passable destinations in mind, Calvert said travelers learn about theme parks and American national parks. She also warned that campground bookings could go quickly this summer as AAA has seen an increase in camping vacations and motorhome travel.
âI think the safest way to travel is to really travel by car,â Calvert said. âPeople are used to being in their cars, it’s their own little space and they’re comfortable preparing for that road trip. But all other areas of the travel industry follow health and safety protocols. “
As more travelers venture into their vehicles, Morgan Dean, senior public and government affairs specialist, said gasoline prices could continue to rise.
âWe’re in uncharted waters right now after 2020. It’s hard to see a lot of things after the month ahead of us,â he said. âAs we enter May here, we are looking for larger peaks this month as we see an increase in demand, especially as Memorial Day approaches. The demand for fuel is about 4% lower than our return level in 2019 at that time, which shows us that people are really returning to the roads. “
With the number of COVID-19 vaccines increasing and lawmakers easing restrictions, Morgan said consumers were starting to plan their vacations more.
âThis booking window has grown considerably from what we were usually used to pre-COVID, and that’s because there is a feeling, a much more secure feeling, as people book in 2022. and 2023, âhe said. âHowever, as things open up, I think what we’ve all missed is that in the short term, two months, four months, this type of travel booking will start to kick in so that we are seeing cruise lines launch their operations and open borders around the world. “
Regardless of their nationality, those traveling abroad to the United States are still required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test, even if they are fully vaccinated. This also applies to Hawaii, where even domestic travelers must have their negative test results before leaving for the islands instead of the mandatory 10-day quarantine.
âEven though you can be vaccinated, that doesn’t mean you can’t become a carrier. Every state can be different when it comes to expectations, restrictions, âMorgan said. âThe smart thing is to be prepared and really understand what those requirements are.â