How to Get Vacation Ready Now

February 23, 2022 by Spectrum Credit Union

Nothing beats the mid-winter blues like planning your next vacation. And by all indications, people today feel more confident about making and keeping such plans. More than nine in 10 Americans, in fact, say they have travel plans in the next six months, according to a monthly travel insights report by the U.S. Travel Association. With COVID travel restrictions, family budgets and destination rules in the mix, here are some notable trends and tips to keep in mind as you successfully navigate your vacation plans this year.

Firm up a trip budget. Maybe you’ve been saving up for this summer’s vacation already — because the pandemic disrupted prior plans. Or maybe you’re just on your way. Regardless, decide on how much you want to spend on everything from gas and lodging to souvenirs and meals. It’s motivating to give your dream vacay pot of money its own home by opening a separate savings account for that special excursion. Spectrum CU’s free Sub-Savings accounts, for example, are a convenient way to put money aside for specific goals — that stay apart from your Primary Share Savings account.

Check restrictions and local rules. Being well-informed about your destination and modes of travel are crucial pieces of your plan because rules can change almost daily. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains a roster of travel advisories and high, moderate and low-risk destinations, along with current COVID health and safety recommendations before, during and after traveling. And the State Department updates travel advisories for travelers planning trips abroad.

Hunt for deals. Travel experts are anticipating a rebound for tourism this summer, so planning ahead and scouting for ways to save is important. National and state parks, beaches and other outdoor-oriented destinations will be especially popular this year. For flights, major U.S. airlines made permanent changes during the pandemic, allowing flexible bookings for most tickets. That means you won’t have to pay a fee if you need to change your flight — as long as you don’t buy the least costly fares.

To compare deals on travel, browse Google Flights, Tripadvisor, Expedia or Kayak to get a sense of what’s available. Or use a travel agent — they’re up-to-date on all the latest offers and best times to book affordable rates.

Consider protecting your investment. Families report they’re paying more attention to cancellation policies and health and safety considerations when choosing travel destinations, the FTA says. And most of them say they’ll only book with companies that have flexible cancellation policies in place.

Along with those safeguards, travel insurance went from a nice-to-have to a must-have during the height of the pandemic. While airlines and hotels have made it easier to cancel trips within weeks or days of departure, some travelers who plan to spend a considerable amount continue to pack a full-featured travel insurance policy in their suitcase — in particular, one that includes Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) coverage. Comparison sites like Squaremouth and InsureMyTrip, can help evaluate the scope of current travel insurance offerings out there, and screen for the specific coverage options that are more critical today.

Planning your best vacation

As we continue to weather the third year of the pandemic, many people are more than ready to make long-held vacation plans a reality. Enjoy the anticipation, do some research, evaluate affordable options and make sure to build some flexibility into your trip.

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