Why It’s Sensible To Book Your Late 2021 Journey Now
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The coronavirus vaccine rollout has been slow but sure, and President Joe Biden recently said he expected the vaccines to be available to everyone in the U.S. by spring. Given its forecast, it can be safe to travel in the fall and winter. So should you book your trip now for the second half of the year? Here’s why some travel experts say you should.
Fares are low now – but may not be in a few months
“Airfares for 2021 are now available at extremely low prices – fares that would normally encourage anyone to get on a plane in times without COVID,” said Alex Miller, founder and CEO of travel site UpgradedPoints.com. “Because of the flexible cancellation policy for airlines, it’s better to book now and think about 2021 trips later. As the vaccine becomes more widely adopted and travel becomes increasingly accepted, prices are likely to rise as demand increases. “
Even if you book a flight that isn’t ideal, you can likely change it as your travel date approaches.
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“As demand increases, so will the number of airplanes in the sky and new routes,” Miller said. “By booking early, you can take advantage of changes to the flight schedule, which inevitably take place so far in advance. In that case, you can ask your airline to put you on more desirable flights. Now, even if you book something that doesn’t quite fit your schedule or desired routing, you will likely find an airline-initiated change to the flight schedule that will allow you to move on to something better. “
Cruise prices are also likely to rise in the last half of the year
“I expect cruise prices for travel to be significantly higher in the second half of 2021,” said Tanner Callais, founder and publisher of Cruzely.com, a website about everything to do with cruises. “If someone knows they want to take a cruise, I think now is the time to book.”
The story goes on
Callais notes that he doesn’t think cruises will resume until the vaccine is widely available. However, if you book now and your cruise is canceled, you shouldn’t have any problem rebooking for a later date.
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“The best news is that cruise lines have offered refunds to passengers with canceled cruises, often 125%, if they simply rebook another cruise,” he said. “Even if you book cruises and are still not back, you will get your money back.”
By booking now you may be able to take out special promotions.
“Cruise lines typically have their best prices and special offers from January to March, and this year is no different,” said travel writer David Yeskel, also known as The Cruise Guru. “On many trips through 2022, travelers can book attractive prices and extras such as free drinks, free WiFi and even return flights. If you wait until summer to book you may not get the best values as many cruise lines limit capacity on their first departures and are likely to run out of discounts and perks above. “
You can save a lot of money with hotels too, but be aware of the cancellation policy
Demand for hotels is likely to rise as the year progresses – which means prices are likely to rise too. So if you see a lot now, bet on it. Just check that your deposit is fully refundable if you cancel within a certain time frame.
“If you can get a great hotel at a great price with a 100% refund policy, go for it,” said Matthew Meier, founder of MaxTour, who runs small group tours in Las Vegas. “You can cancel anytime you find a better deal or change plans.”
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Now is a particularly good time to book trips to high-end hotels and resorts.
“Prices are currently in some cases the lowest we’ve seen, especially for high-end resorts and destinations, and the value-added options like upgrades and additional experiences add to the appeal of booking now,” said Tiera Fekete, associate Producer at Travelzoo. “Once demand drives prices up, many of the levels we are currently seeing will likely be a lot harder to find.”
As a rule of thumb, even in times without a pandemic, the earlier you book, the better hotel deals you will get.
“I’m always a big advocate of early booking,” said Victoria Heinz, a travel blogger and founder of GuideYourTravel.com. “I managed to get some of the best deals at least six months in advance.”
Travel packages for later in the year have already been booked
If you want to book a small tour, yacht trip, or other excursion, you may not be able to book your trip for this year if you wait too long. Andre Robles, managing director of Voyagers Travel Company, which specializes in tours of the Amazon rainforest and the Galapagos Islands, said many excursion dates are already booked by the end of 2021.
“Many of the bookings we had in 2020 have been postponed for the second half of 2021. As a result, many yachts that offer live onboard cruises in the Galapagos Islands are already fully booked for the summer and fall seasons, ”he said. “We have started receiving new requests for trips to the Galapagos Islands for 2022.”
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Suzanne Bratton, content coordinator at TripShock, an online travel agency, recommends booking small group tours for the second half of the year as soon as possible.
“One of the biggest travel trends of 2020 and early 2021 is the choice of small or private excursions,” she said. “With so many people choosing these types of tours over traditional large group excursions, availability is low. To create the safest, most spectacular vacation in 2021, it is highly recommended that you book tours and activities in advance as this will guarantee availability for you and your group. “
It’s good to have something to look forward to
In addition to saving you money and making sure your dream vacation isn’t fully booked when you feel safe, booking a trip now can also be good for your sanity.
“Many travelers are happier planning and anticipating their trip than they are when they return,” said Alex Ziselman, an experienced travel advisor at A2Z Travel LLC.
And after a very tough few months, we could all use a little mental health boost.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Why it is smart to book your trip now in late 2021