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Traveling this year? What to know when planning a getaway vacation in 2021

Demand for vacations is picking up as vaccines rise. Here's what you need to know if you're trying to get away this summer.

ARIZONA, USA — If you have a bucket list trip you’ve been wanting to take, get prepared. Prices are rising as more people get the COVID-19 vaccine and feel safer traveling. 

Here's everything you should remember while trying to book your upcoming dream vacation.

Demand for vacations is picking up as vaccines rise. Some of the top destinations include mountain areas like Montana and Alaska, and areas south of the border like Mexico and Costa Rica.

Travel to pick up as vaccinations increase

“Right now, is such a busy time actually in the travel industry,” said Janet Semenova, co-founder of Boutique Travel Advisors. 

The big question for anyone who wants to travel this year is should trips be booked now or wait?

“All of the people who have been patiently waiting for their opportunity to travel, are now getting vaccinated, are feeling safer to venture out a little bit further from home,” Semenova said. 

Summer vacation destinations are booking out months in advance 

It’s been more than a year since the start of the pandemic and many people have been cooped up for months. Americans are itching to get out and travel safely, to see friends and family they haven’t seen forever. 

“People are starting to book and summer particularly, is going to be a really, really busy time for travelers,” she said. “...especially given that a lot of the world is not fully open to U.S. travelers.” 

Some of the top destinations include mountain areas like Montana, Idaho, Alaska, according to Semenova. Areas south of the border, Mexico, Costa Rica, and certain islands of the Caribbean are also extremely popular.

“Places that are more amenable to social distancing, or maybe a little more private. Hotels that are in nature are really popular, anywhere that’s close to a national park is selling out 6 to 12 months in advance,” she added.

Rental cars are also seeing increased demand. Semenova says smaller destinations may not be equipped with the stock of rental cars Phoenix Sky Harbor would have.

Some destinations remain on lockdown due to the pandemic

If you plan to book, Semenova says you should consider the destinations that are open right now and when you want to travel, because the world is slowly opening back up.

“Greece is planning to open to international tourists, Iceland is planning to open, Croatia is planning to open, but other places like France and Italy are still on shutdown and lockdown,” she said. 

If you still want to go to a place that’s currently locked down, do you take a chance and book a trip now? 

“If you’re going to be booking, I would say definitely the 3rd or 4th quarter of 2021, into 2022,” she said. “For flights, we can book almost a year out...It’s a good idea if you know you want to go somewhere to book your flight now, because prices are probably going to go up as travel goes up.”

Read the fine print before you book a trip

Buyers should be aware that full refunds may not be guaranteed if flights get canceled as the demand for travel explodes and the cost the travel goes up.

“Most U.S. airlines are still offering flexibility... a lot of airlines are offering complimentary exchanges,” Semenova said. 

Travelers may get a voucher for future travel instead of a full refund, so check the airline company's fine print before booking anything.  

Book now to ensure you get the trip you want secured 

Now is the time to get your bookings secured to ensure you’ll be able to go where you want to go, when you want to go.  

Don’t forget, mask mandates are still in place in a lot of destinations. Airlines still require masks and hotels have their own set of rules and regulations too, so your experience could change depending on what safety measures are in place.   

CDC recommends for all travelers, vaccinated or not 

The CDC's latest travel guidelines include getting tested 1 to 3 days before your trip, even if you're vaccinated. 

Following mask and social distance guidelines and getting tested again 3 to 5 days after your trip, along with a self-quarantine for seven full days even if you test negative, are also recommended by the CDC.

Find the latest updates on the COVID-19 vaccines for Arizona and the United States on our 12 News YouTube Page here.