Kimberly Caldwell and her family love to travel and are heading to the west coast this summer for their first trip together since the pandemic hit.
“I am a little nervous, but I definitely know that it’s time to get back out there because the kids have been in the house for two years,” Caldwell said.
Travel expert and writer Christopher Elliot says that the U.S. hasn’t seen a summer like this since 2019.
“It’s going to be absolute chaos. We haven’t seen a summer like this since 2019, which was for a lot of places, the busiest summer on record,” Elliott said.
He adds the Caldwells are in good company as there is a big pent-up demand for travel. It is the airlines, he says, that may not be ready as many are scrambling to hire more staff.
“They were caught completely off guard by the surge in demand. No one could have predicted what happened,” Elliott said .
Samantha Collum with River Oaks Travel says they are seeing the surge as well, with a 30% increase in trips over 2019.
The advice she is giving her clients? Book early and be flexible.
“Book in advance, but don’t be surprised if you see a change in flight, or try to book schedules that have maybe an alternative flight later in the day so if there is a cancellation or a change, you’re not out of luck,” Collum said.
So what else can you do to make your much awaited vacation a success?
These experts say it’s best to book the first flight of the day when possible and try to avoid booking flights with layovers.
For those who are going to travel over Memorial Day, July 4th or Labor Day, should know it is going to be very busy. If you are going to go during those peak times, they suggest flying on the actual holiday to avoid some of the chaos and potentially get a cheaper flight.
Another piece of advice that those experts passed along is in addition to booking your flights sooner than later, booking a rental car as early as possible due to there being a shortage.
So experts say this time around, your summer trip will take some drawn out planning and patience, but it is the family memories that count.
“I am so ,so excited and I just know that once we do this, get our feet wet, then its like ‘Okay, we can plan for the next one,” said Caldwell.
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