Summer trip 2021: things are reserving, but you can still plan a trip

(CNN) – The wait-and-see approach to travel at this time is conservative from a health standpoint. From a booking point of view, maybe not so much.
Airfares in the United States are rising, rental cars are scarce, and scouring vacation home rental websites for gems in popular destinations is the new disaster for some Americans desperate for a getaway to the United States. 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.

“In the past, people could always find something, but now the demand for homes far exceeds the supply of homes,” she said.

Last week, 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.

The summer rental market is tight in Cape San Blas, Florida.

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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 may book for the summer, hope is not lost for the growing group of vaccinated travelers ready to break out of their bubbles. It may take a little strategizing and a little more of this well-practiced pandemic flexibility.

Note that the CDC advises Americans should 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.

“What 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, ”Weinberg said.

Some of the rental car fleets by the thousands last year due to lack of demand have been sold.  With the recovery in demand, there are shortages of cars.

Some of the rental car fleets by the thousands last year due to lack of demand have been sold. With the recovery in demand, there are shortages of cars.

Mario Tama / Getty Images

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 this supply has not been restored.

Weinberg sees people canceling trips because they can’t find a car or the price of those available is straining their budget.

On average, rental cars cost about double what you would normally pay, says Weinberg. 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.

“The number of riders is slowly declining – and it will take a long time to get back to normal,” Amtrak spokeswoman Kimberly Woods said by email. Network traffic is around 34% in fiscal year 2019, with bookings of around 45%.

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 A relaxing way for fully vaccinated travelers to see spectacular awe-inspiring scenery after a year that many Americans have spent locked in their homes.

Beaches along the southern Oregon coast are less crowded in the summer than those frequented by Portlanders further north.

Beaches along the southern Oregon coast are less crowded in the summer than those frequented by Portlanders further north.

Didier Marti / Moment RF / Getty Images

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 also spectacular.

“Yes, it’s a little more of a car ride, but it’s a lot, a lot less crowded,” says Allison Keeney, spokesperson for Travel Oregon.

“Incredibly picturesque” Port Orford is a working fishing port with a thriving arts community. Bandon to the north and Gold Beach to the south are also great vacation spots.

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.

Maine ski areas such as Sugarloaf are also beautiful in the summer.

Maine ski areas such as Sugarloaf are also beautiful in the summer.

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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 many of the more popular state and national park cabins and campsites are likely booked for the summer, travelers heading out mid-week or to more remote parks will likely 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 up.

New York City plans to fully reopen on July 1, Mayor Bill de Blasio said, and many state restrictions will be lifted on May 19. State and the city both report low rates of positivity on the Covid-19 test.
Governors Island in New York has reopened for the season.

Governors Island in New York has reopened for the season.

Angela Weiss / AFP via Getty Images

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. Although some New York City hotels have yet to reopen, occupancy has been around 53% in recent weeks for those that are open, according to data from STR, a global company in analysis and hotel 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%, 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 planning 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 far more expensive 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.

“We’ll probably end up having a few hotel rooms for just a few nights,” she says. The prices of the hotels Cox saw are lower than his expectations. “It will just kind of be cheaper and easier.”

Anything that makes it easier this year seems like a solid plan.

Top photo: Highway 101 along Oregon’s rugged Pacific Coast near the city of Florence. Didier Marti / Moment RF / Getty Images


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