Gephardt: Planning A Spring Or Summer Getaway? COVID-19 Optimism Boosts Travel Bookings

Mar 16, 2021, 6:10 PM | Updated: 8:26 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – After a year of canceled travel plans, people are antsy to catch up on their missed getaways. If you count yourself as someone who is ready to get away, you’re far from being alone.

“We’re really getting excited, particularly as vaccines are rolling out across the county,” said travel expert Melissa Dohmen, who works for online travel agency Travelocity.

Her agency recently polled customers and learned people are just fed up with looking at the same four walls.

“We’re surprisingly, or not surprisingly, finding people are ready to travel again this year,” Dohmen said.

As rhetoric from elected officials suggested the pandemic could largely be under control by Independence Day, many Travelocity customers are laying down their credit cards for trips scheduled in July and beyond.

The KSL Investigators found millions of people are not waiting. According to data from the Transportation Security Administration, just over 3.9 million travelers passed through airport security checkpoints this past weekend.

Nearly 4 million people traveled by air last weekend. (KSL TV) Most travelers are avoiding big trips right now. (KSL TV)

That is the most since the same weekend last year, right after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic. However, 3.9 million is still far below normal levels. During the same weekend in 2019, security checkpoints saw more than 7.4 million passengers — nearly doubling this year’s number.

Still, last weekend’s growth in traffic at the airports is proof of life for the struggling travel industry.

Interestingly, though, the folks who are booking travel now are still largely doing it conservatively: Shorter getaways to places they’ve been to before as opposed to trips of a lifetime.

“People are not planning big bucket list trips,” said Dohmen. “Instead, they’re planning what we call ‘toe-drip trips’, which are really designed to ease back into travel, create a sense of normalcy and rebuild confidence.”

Travelocity said it was late December, when the vaccine announcement first came out, that they saw a surge of traffic and searches — and as they’ve moved into the first few months of 2021, demand for summer is looking quite strong.

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Gephardt: Planning A Spring Or Summer Getaway? COVID-19 Optimism Boosts Travel Bookings