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Vacation bookings scarce, as ‘Hot Vaxxed Summer’ 2021 begins

Published: May. 26, 2021 at 10:56 PM CDT|Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 10:57 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - As we head into the Memorial Day weekend, AAA Travel is expecting a big rebound in the number of people traveling this year.

In fact, they predict an increase of 60% from 2020.

But the big issue this summer may be finding places to stay.

Some people may want to catch flights and not feelings this Summer 2021.

While others are just in need of a good ole vacation.

“So, we had probably booked a vacation in November of last year, to go Super Bowl Sunday to Cancun,” said Cynthia Ross, a Baton Rouge resident.

Ross and her husband just got back from Mexico. A trip they had to reschedule from February because of the pandemic.

“We were just kind of worried about getting the COVID test in Mexico, and what it would be. And wouldn’t want to get stuck there for 14 days, we had heard a lot of people that had,” said Ross.

Now that most states’ economies are fully re-opened and vaccines are available to everyone, a lot of people may be ready for a trip.

“And we found that most that what we’re looking for just didn’t exist,” said Jeffrey Wale, a Denham Springs resident.

Wale and his family were looking at condos for an upcoming trip to the beach.

He visited some of the popular sites like VRBO and AIRBNB but didn’t have much luck.

“And in the rare instances where we did find something available, we found it was way outside of our price range, and just out of what we were able to budget for, for this particular trip,” said Wale.

Gulf Shore and Orange Beach tourism officials say the beaches are in great shape, and they are expecting a busy summer.

“There’s still some availability in June. And July is booking up quickly, so we definitely want to encourage people to book. And then when they come, remember it’s super busy, and to pack your patience probably, a little bit,” said Beth Gendler, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism.

“I’ve had to look up certain trips for people, and availability is just scarce,” said Alana Bishop, with Alana International Travel in Gonzales.

Bishop is a travel agent and says she is seeing similar issues. She wants people to be proactive now, for any trips they may be planning later in the year.

“So, I suggest just trying to book up as far into the future as you can and get some help from a travel agency,” said Bishop.

If you do find a place and are traveling this Summer, the Better Business Bureau of South Central Louisiana urges you to:

  • Plan ahead. Allow plenty of time to research hotels, flights, and the area where you will be staying. Typically, the earlier reservations are made, the better the deals and the lower the risk of the destination being booked solid. Making reservations in advance also locks in rates and prevents higher prices later during prime spring break, peak summer, or holiday travel seasons.
  • Avoid broad internet searches. Entering phrases like ‘best deals’ into whichever search engine used can sometimes bring up-websites that look official, but are designed solely to rip people off.
  • Be alert for travel scams. Watch out for phone calls or letters claiming a ‘free trip’ or websites offering prices that appear too good to be true. It’s easy to extend questionable offers like these, but the vast majority of them leave hopeful travelers in limbo – and out money. Learn more about travel scams here.
  • Do your homework. Ask family and friends to recommend a travel agent or travel website and visit BBB.org for free Business Profiles. Research the business and read customer reviews about any rentals under consideration.
  • Get trip details in writing. Before making a final payment, get all the details of the trip in writing. This should include the total cost, restrictions, cancellation penalties, and names of the airlines and hotels. Also, review and keep a copy of the airline’s and hotel’s cancellation and refund policies, as well as the cancellation policies of the travel agency or booking site used.
  • Consider travel insuranceTravel insurance covers things like trip cancellations or medical emergencies. There are different levels of coverage based on what type of plan purchased. Ask a lot of questions, and always read the fine print to see what’s covered and what’s not.
  • Pay with a credit card. Paying with a credit card provides additional protection if something should go wrong with the travel reservation.
  • Planning to travel internationally? Check to see if there are any advisories affecting Canada and the U.S. Travel Association for any issues that may impact the trip.

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