Whether or not you plan to travel now or post-vaccine, now may be the best time to start booking your 2021 vacations. In general, airfare and cruise prices are low, and hotels and resorts are offering travel deals. These prices are sure to go up as more people begin feeling safe to travel, so now may be the best time to book your trips — as long as any deposits are refundable in the case you still don’t feel safe to travel when your vacation date rolls around. In addition, there are a number of COVID-safe vacations you may want to take right now that you can find good travel deals for.
Go on a Road Trip
“Visiting a destination that you can travel to by car and staying in an Airbnb or a detached villa-style hotel room is still the safest way to travel in 2021,” said Jennifer Aspinwall of the travel site World on a Whim.
If you go the hotel route, there are many ways to get discounts at the major hotel chains right now.
Plan a Local Staycation
Traveling by car is the safest bet, and you may not need to travel far for a COVID-19-friendly trip. Consider booking a hotel stay in your area to get the feeling of a vacation without the hassle of driving for hours.
“Prices right now are, in several cases, the lowest we’ve ever seen, especially for high-end resorts and destinations, and the value-add options, like upgrades and extra experiences, are bolstering the appeal of booking now,” said Tiera Fekete, associate producer at Travelzoo. “Once demand begins to drive prices upward, many of the values we are seeing right now will likely become a lot tougher to find.”
Visit a National Park
“Outdoor destinations like national parks where you can socially distance will not only give you peace of mind, but also keep from spreading the virus further,” Aspinwall said.
National parks typically have low entry fees, so planning a trip to visit one of America’s most picturesque parks is a budget-friendly vacation option.
Take an RV Trip
“RVs are self-contained units with a bathroom, bedroom and kitchen on-board. For those who want to find a way to travel while remaining socially-distanced, RV rentals are a great option,” said Maddi Bourgeriem, director of communications and PR at RVshare.
Renting an RV can be an affordable option if you shop around for promotions or deals.
Choose a Destination With Strict Regulations, Like Hawaii
“Hawaii is a major destination now for those looking for a safe vacation,” said Alex Miller, founder and CEO of the travel site UpgradedPoints.com. “With Hawaii’s stringent testing requirements and overall low case counts, Hawaii is one of the safest destinations in the U.S.”
Nicole Hunter, founder of the travel blog Go Far Grow Close, recently booked a trip from Canada to Maui for January 2022.
“I am confident that both countries will still have strict protocols about who can come into each country and what will be required to prove that they are COVID-free,” she said. “That would mean either a negative COVID test or proof of vaccination. In addition, most of the activities that I hope to enjoy in Maui would be outside — the beach, pool, hiking, tennis and golf.”
Book a Cruise for Later in the Year
As of now, some cruise lines are planning to begin setting sail in June. Book now to reserve your spot, without having to worry about losing any of your money.
“Cruise lines have become more lenient on cancellation policies to put passengers at ease,” said Tanner Callais, founder and editor of Cruzely.com, a website about everything cruising. “Instead of harsh cancellation penalties, some major lines are letting people cancel on short notice and for any reason. Cruise lines have also been at the forefront of refunding passengers’ money for canceled trips. In fact, many trips are eligible for refunds in higher amounts than what was paid, if they keep their money with the cruise line for a future trip. So you could come out ahead if a trip is canceled.”
Use Booking.com To Find Refundable Hotel Fares
Nate Hake, CEO of TravelLemming.com, expects that international travel restrictions will be in place for the next three months or so, so he emphasizes only booking refundable hotels if you plan to travel out of the country.
“Booking.com is a great resource for finding refundable hotels,” he said.
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