The coronavirus pandemic all but obliterated the idea of leisure travel for the last couple of months. Now that more states are reopening for business, you might be wondering if it’s a good idea to book summer travel.
Money expert Clark Howard knows the travel industry as well as anyone: He used to own his own travel agency, and he’s still a true globe trotter.
But the world has changed over the last few months, so it only makes sense that the ways we travel will change, too — at least in the short term.
Private Rentals, Not Hotels
“One of the businesses in the United States that’s been devastated is Airbnb,” Clark says. “But I believe a lot of Airbnb properties in the U.S. are going to have a strong comeback in the latter half of May and through August.”
The reason, he says, is that “people are going to feel more comfortable renting somebody else’s place for a week than they are staying in a hotel, where they don’t know who’s been there and they have to pass other people in the hallways.”
Driving, Not Flying
“A lot of people are going to want to go on a vacation where they drive and not fly,” he says. “People don’t have confidence that it’s safe to get on an airplane right now. So, we’re going to get in our vehicles and we’re going to drive somewhere.”
The good news, according to Clark, is that the low gas prices we’ve seen recently will likely remain in place through the summer vacation season.
The Rise of the RVs
Speaking of hitting the open road, Clark believes that recreational vehicles will enjoy unprecedented popularity this summer.
“We’re going to see that people renting RVs is going to be a really preferred way of doing things,” he says. “I think we’re going to quickly hit maximum demand on RVs — and there will be shortages of them as we go through the summer vacation season — because that’s how people are going to feel comfortable.”
And Clark predicts that people will be most comfortable visiting natural locales like beaches and mountains — everywhere but major metropolises. “People are not going to travel to big cities this summer,” he says.
Don’t Overlook State Parks
Clark has another good tip for you if part of your travel plan is to avoid big crowds.
“You’ll find that a lot of areas have state parks adjacent to national parks, and the state parks will be less crowded than the national parks,” he says.
If you’re still looking for a place where you’ll have plenty of your own space, he recommends you check to find lesser-known state parks.
“That’ll be a way for you to have more potential isolation from others,” he says.
There are plenty of options out there for travel this summer. Just remember that if you’re not comfortable, it won’t be relaxing at all. Make sure anything you book is refundable in case you decide not to go. For maximum protection, buy “cancel for any reason” travel insurance.