Posted: 3/29/21 | March 29th, 2021
If you’re like me, you’ve been waiting over a year for this moment. That light at the end of the tunnel — where we are mostly vaccinated and can hug strangers, go to concerts and crowded bars, and travel the world again.
Sure, in the past year, many parts of the world have been open to visitors and some people have been traveling. Nor has the pandemic stopped people from pretending it’s not happening and crowding into packed bars (see Florida).
But what I’m talking about is that tipping point for the rest of us. That time when infections, hospitalizations, and deaths dwindle to the point where a majority of the world reopens, conferences and events are held again, attractions open, and the rest of us cram into bars again to make out with strangers on a drunken night.
We’re not there yet — it will take at least another year or two before we’re fully “back to normal” — but every day we inch closer to a post-COVID world where things open up and we have options again.
In fact, many countries are already allowing visitors to skip mandated quarantine / PCR testing if they are vaccinated (Iceland, Greece, Israel, and Ecuador, for example, and Thailand is already considering doing the same).
And, with all this palpable excitement, as Vice recently reported, people are starting to book trips again — so much so that many destinations are already filling up.
Before the pandemic, most people would book their trip one to two months before they left. During the pandemic, it was down to one to two weeks, as people were worried about ever-changing rules and restrictions.
Now, travelers are starting to do that four months or more out, in anticipation of destinations reopening.
Airplane ticket prices are rising, and tours are filling up, as are campgrounds. Accommodations, especially Airbnbs, are selling out fast — and those prices are rising too, as demand for them increases due to people looking to be self-contained rather than in a hotel. (But if you want a hotel, that means you’ll find incredible rates and lots of options).
And the awesome travel deals we are seeing now won’t last forever.
In short, you should start booking your travels now (but purchase refundable tickets).
And it’s not just in the United States.
Greece, France, Spain, Italy — all these summer hotspots are getting booked on the assumption that they will be open again by then. I’ve spoken to a number of travel agents that are having a hard time finding hotels and resorts for their clients.
That doesn’t mean the situation can’t or won’t change. A new strain might appear, the world might shut down again, countries might delay opening if their own population’s vaccination program takes longer than expected. Who knows? The summer may be close, but in COVID years, it’s a long time away.
That’s why you want to make sure you get refundable bookings.
But, as they say, you don’t want to be caught with your pants down, paying higher prices for your summer or fall vacation.
Right now, everyone in the travel industry needs money. They want to fill seats on planes, spots on tours, and rooms in hotels. There are a ton of deals at the moment — even to countries that are closed right now, because people are anticipating they will reopen by the summer.
But the current deals won’t last long.
Because people will start to get more comfortable taking trips and the outlook begins to brighten, prices will rise with demand. There’s a lot of people waiting to travel: people who postponed 2020 trips, people who had trips already booked, and people who, after COVID, have decided not to wait any longer.
That, coupled with reduced capacity and options, means that prices will creep up (a lot).
So, regardless of whether you’re staying within your own country or flying to some exotic locale, I’d start booking your trips right now.
Better to catch these deals now, even if your plans are fuzzy, rather than paying more later.
Smart travelers book when the deals happen.
Be a smart traveler.
How to Travel the World on $50 a Day
My New York Times best-selling paperback guide to world travel will teach you how to master the art of travel so that you’ll get off the beaten path, save money, and have a deeper travel experience. It’s your A to Z planning guide that the BBC called the “bible for budget travelers.”
Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. I’ve been using World Nomads for ten years. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
- SafetyWing (best for nomads)
- World Nomads (most comprehensive)
- Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
- Medjet (for additional evacuation coverage)
Ready to Book Your Trip?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use when I travel. They are the best in class and you can’t go wrong using them on your trip.