The wait-and-see approach of Trip is currently conservative from a health point of view. From a booking point of view, maybe not so much.
Airfares in the United States Rise, Rental Cars are Scant, Sifting Vacation Home Rental Websites for Popular Gems destinations is the new doomscrolling for some Americans desperate for a getaway in the United States.
Carrie Shevlin owns three rental properties in Cape San Blas, along Florida’s “Forgotten Coast”, one hour southeast of Panama City. One of them is under construction – still in the framing phase – and already has reservations for next summer. The others are reserved all summer. The low density area has been very popular with vacationers during a pandemic looking to avoid the crowds.
âUsually in the past people could always find something, but now the demand for houses far exceeds the supply of houses,â she said.
During the first week of May, the number of vacation rental bookings made in Florida was 40% higher than it was during the same week in 2019, according to figures from Transparent, a data analytics company for the short-term rental industry.
Shevlin says about 20 people a day were recently added to a Facebook group she administers with nearly 8,000 members where prospective Cape San Blas tenants describe the types of properties they are looking for and the owners and companies of. property management related to hundreds of rentals. try to meet their requests. At present, tenants’ inquiries remain unanswered. No inventory, she said.
But while some of America’s popular beach destinations, lakes and national parks are heading towards a Much busier Memorial Day weekend than last year and perhaps book for the summer, hope is not lost for the growing group of vaccinated travelers ready to emerge from their bubbles. It may take a little strategizing and a little more of this well-practiced pandemic flexibility.
Note that the CDC advises Americans must delay their trip until they are fully immunized.
Need a rental car? Look for it before you book anything else
If you’re planning a flight-hotel-rental car type of trip, flip it over and look for the rental car first, advises Jonathan Weinberg, founder and CEO of AutoSlash, a company that helps renters find. better prices by applying every possible coupon and applicable membership discount (Costco, AARP, loyalty programs, etc.) and monitoring price drops.
âWhat we’re seeing is that people book trips, they basically book their plane tickets, they book their hotel, and then they wait to get there to book their rental car and they realize that there is no rental car available, âWeinberg said.
The sharp drop in demand last year and the resulting financial difficulties have caused car rental companies to sell a significant portion of their fleets, and that the supply has not been restored.
Weinberg sees people canceling trips because they can’t find a car, or the cost of those available is causing their budgets to explode.
On average, rental cars cost about double what you would normally pay, Weinberg says. But it can be three to ten times higher in some places, and in Hawaii and Alaska there are hardly any cars available this summer.
So check the cars first and book as early as possible.
But you don’t need a car for epic trips across the United States
Car rentals are extremely tight, but the Amtrak train supply is plentiful.
“Ridership is slowly declining – and it will take a long time to get back to normal,” Amtrak spokeswoman Kimberly Woods said by email. Network traffic in mid-May was around 34% of fiscal 2019, with bookings of around 45%.
Amtrak is restoring daily service to 12 long distance routes staggered to begin between May 24 and June 7.
The California Zephyr from Chicago to San Francisco crosses the Rockies and Sierra Nevadas in a planned 51-hour journey.
It’s not the cheapest or fastest way to travel across the country – a search for a round-trip for two in June in a sleeper car with meals included costs $ 2,432 – but it could be a relaxing way for fully vaccinated travelers to see a spectacular view. – an open landscape after a year that many Americans have spent locked in their homes.
The prices of plane tickets are on the rise, according to the Hopper travel site. Domestic air fares are expected to climb 16% this spring, peaking in late June.
Hopper recommends booking flights no later than Memorial Day weekend for better deals. Hopper predicts that prices will be close to pre-pandemic levels by July 4.
Popular places mean crowds. Look beyond them
This year has been, uh, one of the most unusual. It might be a good year to ditch that trip to the same bustling beach or the most popular national park – and avoid the rush for vacation rentals.
In Oregon, Cannon Beach and Seaside draw crowds from Portland, about an hour and a half away, but southern Oregon’s coast – from Florence below – is spectacular as well.
âYes, it’s a bit more of a car ride, but it’s way, a lot less crowded,â says Allison Keeney, spokesperson for Travel Oregon.
‘Insanely Scenic’ Port Orford is a working fishing port with a thriving arts community. Bandon to the north and Gold Beach to the south are also prime spots for vacationers.
Across the country in Maine, Acadia National Park is a huge tourist draw, but the rest of the state is also teeming with outdoor activities.
Ski resorts such as Sugarloaf and Sunday River have beautiful golf courses and are in the river valleys with great kayaking. The state is also home to dozens of sports camps – hunting and fishing outposts that in many cases have become recreational facilities for the family, says Steve Lyons, director of the Maine Office of Tourism.
While most of the more popular cabins and campsites in national and national parks are likely booked for the summer, travelers heading out mid-week or to more remote parks are likely to find camping options. At southcarolinaparks.com and other state sites, you can filter what you are looking for in all state parks.
The city break may be making a comeback
Last year, when people were even more focused on staying outside and away from others, beaches were among the safest bets. But with soaring vaccination rates in the United States and a relaxation of CDC guidelines, cities are opening wide.
There are plenty of alfresco dining options for those not quite ready to sit indoors, and the wide open Governors Island, first accessible by ferry from Brooklyn, features artwork. public art, bike rentals, a Slide Hill for the kids and more.
Downtown hotels in the United States have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, as business travel has seen nothing close to the rebound in leisure travel. While some New York City hotels have yet to reopen, occupancy was around 53% in late April and early May for those that were open, according to data from STR, a company global hotel analysis and data.
That number is expected to climb to 61% this summer.
US hotel room rates fell 20% in 2020, according to STR accommodation analyst Jan Freitag, and they are only expected to rise by a fraction of that amount this year.
In San Francisco, the occupancy rate for open hotels was around 41% in the weeks leading up to the start of May, with a summer forecast of 55%.
Christine Cox, her husband and their two children, 12 and 13, are looking to rent an Airbnb in the Bay Area. As the children are on the verge of being fully immunized, the family in Decatur, Georgia, are eyeing the very end of June. Picks are slim for what they are looking for, she says.
Cox was surprised at how few properties met their needs and the few properties that seemed very expensive cost way more than they wanted to spend.
Instead, they plan to cut their trip off: a few days outside of San Francisco at an Airbnb in Marin County, then a few nights back downtown.
âWe’ll probably end up having a few hotel rooms for just a few nights,â she says. The prices of the hotels Cox saw are lower than his expectations. “It will kind of be cheaper and easier.”
Anything that makes it easier this year seems like a solid plan.