CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – In a sign of increased travel optimism as the country’s vaccine roll out continues, a record-high 69.3% of travelers surveyed are saying they are “ready” to travel since the pandemic began.
The nationwide Destination Analysts survey, conducted April 2-4, 2021, says the vast majority, or 77.7%, of those surveyed, also said they are now “actively dreaming about and planning travel.” That percentage is the highest number this year, according to AAA. Destination Analysts conducts weekly surveys of Americans’ thoughts surrounding the idea of traveling in the midst of the pandemic. The organization’s latest survey included 1,206 respondents.
“Each week that goes by, AAA travel advisors are seeing more hope and excitement from their customers about traveling this summer or fall and in 2022,” said Jenifer Moore, AAA spokeswoman.
The company says newly updated CDC travel guidelines are fueling that excitement for potential travelers. Those guidelines indicate fully vaccinated people can travel at low risk to themselves. As AAA officials say they believe that news is welcome for those considering traveling in the coming months as COVID-19 vaccines become more widely available.
According to officials from AAA, the company is seeing many people contact their travel advisors to book a trip the same day they are fully vaccinated. They say being vaccinated appears to make potential travelers feel safer about confirming a trip.
“Many are wanting to travel to sun and fun destinations and booking for trips leaving in the next 4-6 weeks, rather than the more normal 6-8 months in advance,” said Moore.
The CDC says individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of a two-dose vaccine (Pfizer and Moderna) or two weeks after their single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson). Even though COVID-19 protocols are still in place and not all locations have returned to full capacity, AAA says many travelers are “ready to go” and are willing to do what is necessary to stay safe. Travel advisors say potential vacationers have been “eager” to learn about COVID-19 protocols and to prepare for what to expect on their trips.
“AAA Travel advisors are feeling more appreciated than ever for their expertise not only on travel planning and destinations but also for their knowledge of required COVID procedures and restrictions at their destinations,” Moore said. “Once travelers know what to expect, they feel much more comfortable deciding when they are ready to go and can do so without the fear of the unknown.”
The company is also reminding travelers some local and state travel restrictions may still be in place in some areas. AAA has the latest information on these restrictions online at COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map and TripTik.AAA.com.
AAA says some tips travelers can take to make their trip as safe as possible include:
- Planning ahead and knowning the COVID-19 protocols for your destination.
- Consider making reservations in andvance. The company says some popular destinations have limited availability this year as well as in 2022 due to a surge in bookings. Those who want to travel this summer should remain flexable.
- Consider getting travel insurance in case of possible cancellations or delays.
- Plan for transportation. AAA says many rental car companies sold cars sitting unrented during the pandemic, so there is less availability and prices may be higher.
- Know your options for a flight. According to AAA, most airlines dropped change fees for most fares during the pandemic. These may or may not be re-instated as travel resumes.