Air travelers preparing for long lines during one of the busiest travel days of the year


Flights and airports across the country are expected to be packed on Sunday, one of the busiest traveling days of the year as people rush to get home after the Thanksgiving holiday.

RSW airport wasn’t packed early on Sunday. The lines were short and parking was abundant.

WINK News spoke with a parent who was dropping her child off at the airport to return back to school. They got to the airport two hours before her flight expecting a long line, but when it was empty, they decided to spend some extra time together before they parted ways.

“We got here at 5 expecting the line to be long, and then it was really short and we were like OK we woke up early for nothing,” said Ansley Tedford.

Audra Tedford said, “I was expecting to see full lines at security and then we woke up and it was empty I couldn’t believe it.”

While RSW wasn’t very busy early on Sunday morning, the crowds and lines are expected to grow as the day goes on.

Extra security lines have been set up for overflow. RSW is urging anyone flying out of the airport arrive at least two hours early in anticipation of crowds.

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Here’s the Travel News You Missed over the Past Year | Getaways

Travel News - Four Seasons Resort and Residences

Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley

Las Vegas

Not even the pandemic could deter Las Vegas’ penchant for constant reinvention. Along with Sin City’s new Allegiant Stadium—a shiny, high-tech home to the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders—three new major casino hotels recently made the scene. Circa Resort & Casino, the city’s first resort limited to guests 21 and older, is what’s new downtown. A popular outdoor feature is its Stadium Swim, where a 40-foot, high-def TV entertains patrons of the sports-betting persuasion as they lounge around, and swim in, the resort’s six pools.

Travel News - Virgin Hotels

Virgin Hotels Las Vegas

Beyond the Strip, Virgin Hotels Las Vegas has added splashes of color and the Richard Branson joie de vivre to the site of the former Hard Rock Hotel. And in the long-vacant real estate on Las Vegas Boulevard where the Stardust once stood comes Resorts World Las Vegas. Its 3,506 guest rooms are split into three categories: Las Vegas Hilton, Conrad Las Vegas, and 236 ultra-luxe Crockfords rooms and suites accessed by an exclusive entrance.

Palm Springs

In the Instagram age, it pays to be whimsical and photogenic. That describes Les Cactus, a renovated, courtyard-style hotel with just 27 rooms. The intimate property is adults-only with rooms that are colorful, small, and affordable. On the site formerly occupied by retro-hip Riviera Palm Springs now stands a kid-friendly Margaritaville Resort Palm Springs. Parrot Heads can embrace the Jimmy Buffett brand with Hawaiian-print shirts, island-inspired cocktails, and plenty of Cheeseburgers in Paradise.

Travel News - Margaritaville

Margaritaville Resort Palm Springs

Kiddos are also welcome at the 530-room Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa. It’s the desert, right? So it makes perfect sense that the property recently spent $21 million on a renovation that includes the HyTides Plunge Waterpark and Desert Twist Lazy River. Let your inner child out to ride waterslides, play in streaming fountains, and spray water cannons.

NorCal Wine Country

In Northern California, the 85-room Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley is taking reservations beginning November 1. The verdant, rustic-but-elegant setting is nestled in the northern part of the valley, in the historic town of Calistoga—birthplace of the world’s top cabernet sauvignons. The grape-to-glass experience promises to be part of each guest’s everyday happenings.

Travel News - Flamingo Resort

Flamingo Resort

This summer, the historic midcentury Flamingo Resort was transformed and retooled with modern amenities. Its immersive wellness experiences include yoga, meditation, breath work, and sound healing. The Hotel Trio Healdsburg (named for the area’s three wine-producing regions—Russian River, Dry Creek, and Alexander Valley) used its pandemic downtime to get a tech upgrade: namely Rosé, a robot butler who does room-service deliveries. This cylindrical, stainless-steel “social-distancing ambassador” efficiently delivers ice, towels, and your favorite bottle of vino.

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Share your favourite Christmas and New Year UK light event to win a holiday voucher | Travel

It could be a spectacular laser light show in a city park, tastefully illuminated gardens at a grand historic home or an arty trail with glowing installations in mysterious woods. Tell us about a Christmas light extravaganza you’ve visited – we’re particularly interested in hearing about less well-known events.

If you have a relevant photo, do send it in – but it’s your words that will be judged for the competition.

Keep your tip to about 100 words

The best tip of the week, chosen by Tom Hall of Lonely Planet, will win a £200 voucher to stay at a Sawday’s property – the company has more than 3,000 in the UK and Europe. The best tips will appear on the Guardian Travel website, and maybe in the paper, too.

We’re sorry, but for legal reasons you must be a UK resident to enter this competition.

Have a look at our past winners and other tips

Read the terms and conditions here

The competition closes on 30 November 2021 at 9am

If you’re having trouble using the form, click here. Read terms of service here and privacy policy here

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Survey: Most Planners Expect to Equal or Surpass 2019 Mtg. Level Next Year

About 65 percent of meeting planner respondents have events on the books for the fourth quarter of 2021, and 62 percent expect to plan at least the same number of meetings and events of all types in 2022 than they did in 2019, according to a new report from meetings data provider Knowland and global meetings company ConferenceDirect.

The companies between Oct. 1-25 surveyed more than 450 ConferenceDirect meeting planners for the report, titled “The State of the Meetings Industry.”

About 16 percent of respondents said at least three-quarters of registrants to their current hybrid meetings are in-person attendees, while 22 percent said it was between half and three-quarters. About 33 percent reported less than 10 percent of registrants were for the in-person portion of their events. 

Half of respondents said they have a hybrid or virtual technology vendor, while more than one-quarter (26 percent) handle the requirements in-house. 

When it comes to sourcing venues, 32 percent of respondents said they are “very satisfied” or “extremely satisfied” with the responsiveness to their requests. Nearly half (47 percent) said they were “moderately satisfied.” Further, nearly 52 percent said that responding in a timely manner to requests was the most important action hotels and venues could take to increase planner satisfaction. About 43 percent said the most important action from suppliers would be to offer terms that are flexible with pandemic changes.

The top three concerns related to returning to in-person meetings were budget availability (35 percent), hotels and venues staffed to pre-Covid-19 service levels (30 percent) and the method for proof of Covid-19 vaccination (27 percent).

More than half of respondents (54 percent) expect to see higher meeting-space fees, while about 29 percent anticipate amenity-based pricing.

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Thanksgiving travel this year could strain people’s wallets — and patience

Thanksgiving travel is bouncing back this year — and so are expectations for holiday travel chaos on the roads, rails and in the air.

With rising Covid-19 vaccination rates and the reopening of U.S. borders to vaccinated foreign travelers, the travel industry is bracing for the upcoming holiday rush.

In its holiday travel forecast, AAA said this week it expects more than 53.4 million people to travel between the period Nov. 24 to Nov. 28, up 13 percent from 2020 levels. 

The Transportation Security Administration said it is already screening between 1.9 and 2.2 million people daily, and a looming Nov. 22 deadline for the agency’s workers to be vaccinated has sparked concern about a possible worker shortage and longer security lines during the holiday. A spokeswoman for the TSA told NBC News that it is focused on getting employees vaccinated by the deadline.

Spiking gas prices aren’t deterring travelers this year, either. Around 48 million people will take to the roads this Thanksgiving holiday, according to AAA. At around $3.40, the average price at the pump this week is the highest since 2014, said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.

Car rental prices also remain high, after a shortage of crucial semiconductor chips led to a dramatic slowdown in the production of new vehicles during the pandemic, exacerbated by rental companies culling their fleets last year during the pandemic’s travel lull. Daily car rental prices currently average around $84, according to a spokeswoman from travel site Hopper.

This means that travelers should adjust how they make bookings for the holiday season, said Michael Taylor, travel practice lead at JD Power. While travelers typically book a hotel room before looking for a rental car and flight, they should reverse that order, he said, especially in popular holiday destinations like Orlando and Las Vegas where rental cars are costlier and in higher demand.

“This is going to be an expensive holiday for some folks,” Taylor said.

Camille Jones, a clinical social worker in Birmingham, Alabama, plans to fly to Orlando with her husband and two-month-old baby to spend the holidays with her in-laws. While the family considered driving to Orlando, renting a car would have cost them about $590. The two roundtrip plane tickets they ended up purchasing totaled $530.

To further cut costs, the family bought tickets to fly to Orlando from Atlanta rather than Birmingham, saving them around $240. Jones said the two-hour drive to Atlanta is worth it, especially since they frequently visit family there. She and her husband plan to arrive at the airport two hours before their flight, especially since they have a baby in tow.

“We’ve never traveled with a baby, so I know we’re going to slow it down a bit,” Jones said.

Travelers should consider purchasing travel insurance or using travel credit cards with built-in insurance, said Sara Rathner, travel and credit card expert at Nerdwallet. She added that travelers should also look into cashing in airline or hotel credits from canceled 2020 travel. 

Last month, Southwest Airlines canceled more than 2,000 flights, costing the company $75 million and impacting tens of thousands of passengers. The company has since announced it has trimmed its flight schedule to better reflect staffing levels. More recently, American Airlines canceled more than 2,000 flights over Halloween weekend, citing staff shortages and inclement weather. 

Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, the union representing American Airlines pilots, said the airline’s record of slow recovery after flight changes could pose problems during the upcoming holiday rush, especially if there is bad weather. Further complicating the problem, holiday travel occurs toward the end of the month, when pilots and flight attendants are close to maxing out their contract hours.

David Seymour, American’s chief operating officer, said in a note to staff on Nov. 5 that 1,800 flight attendants returned to operations this month and the airline plans to add 800 more in December. Seymour also said employees will receive holiday pay on peak travel days in November and December, and he expects 4,000 new staff members to join this quarter.

Weary travelers should be prepared for shuttered stores and restaurants at the airport, Taylor said. Labor shortages and inflation continue to plague the hospitality industry, meaning any stores and kiosks that are open will have higher prices, fewer options and longer lines.

Delaware North Travel, a New York-based hospitality company that operates food and retail concessions at airports, closed down some of its locations during the pandemic and cut back on hours due to labor shortages. The hospitality company’s operating hours are based on the number of passengers boarding each day and when certain gates are used, which means customers sometimes face longer lines. 

To combat inflationary pressures, Delaware North Travel increased prices on some of its menu items and re-engineered some items, said Bob Wilson, Delaware North Travel’s president. For example, a meal with eight chicken wings now features boneless wings, and some fresh food options were turned into grab-and-gos. Some portion sizes have been reduced.

Despite the anticipated hurdles, many travelers are planning a packed schedule.

Sarah Goldstrom, who works in the film industry, plans to fly on Thanksgiving Day from Philadelphia to Greenville, South Carolina, with a layover in Atlanta to spend the evening with family. After filling up on turkey, she plans on flying to New York to attend a Harry Styles concert before returning home to Atlanta. 

“Thanksgiving’s kind of chaotic anyways,” she said.

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The most important thing you can pack for holiday travel this year is patience

Let me be clear, dear reader. People are traveling again. They’re partying like it’s 2019. But while the travelers have returned, staffing levels have not. This is not a drill: Reserve your rental cars ASAP. Get to the airport early. Read all the details of COVID-19 testing requirements for restaurants, bars, amusement parks, stadiums, or any country on your itinerary, and then read them again. Read the cancellation policy for your airline. Hopefully your experience will be smoother than Nicole Kidman’s forehead, but just in case, you need to be ready.

“It may sound cliche, but one of the most important things to pack this holiday season is your patience,” said Brian Hoyt, head of global communications at Tripadvisor. “You know the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving and the Sunday after Thanksgiving are some of the busiest air travel days of the year, that will certainly be the case again. But we’re really going through this period of a tourism reset. We’re going to have a lot more chaotic days this season.”

One sector that has been hit particularly hard by staffing levels is the airlines. American Airlines and Southwest were both recently hammered by a combination of bad weather and staffing shortages. American announced last week that it is increasing pay for flight attendants to avert more cancellations and to appease angry passengers.

“With the airlines there’s recently been a lot of issues around staffing, and there are challenges there,” said Jonathan Kletzel, transportation and logistics leader for PwC. “I think that’s an addressable problem. Can it be addressed in time for the holidays? That’s a big question mark.”

According to Michael Taylor, practice lead for travel intelligence at J.D. Power, airline staffing shortages aren’t simply a matter of hiring more people.

“It’s rehiring and retraining,” Taylor said. “If a pilot hasn’t flown an aircraft in a year, they’re not going to just hop back into a 737 and merrily go down the runway. The airline and the FAA would like to check them out again, but they don’t build that many flight simulators. So you’ve got a backlog of those. It’s not as rigorous, but it’s the same thing with airline crew.”

It’s a perfect storm of staffing shortages and increased travel demand. A survey of 1,800 travelers from OAG, a company that provides flight information, intelligence, and analytics for airports, found that passenger counts were up 81 percent from June to August compared with the same period in 2020. The company anticipates the trend will continue through the holidays. Zeta Global, a marketing technology company, found that travel in 2021 is up 94 percent over 2020. But the 1,000 people surveyed by Zeta said that driving will still be their primary means of transportation for this holiday season, and that they’d still prefer to stay close to home.

Also, remember there isn’t simply an increase in domestic travel, but now you’ll be facing off against international travelers as well.

You have a few options in the event your flight is canceled — such as sitting in a corner at the airport and crying — but experts recommend taking a more productive approach.

“I’ve actually given this advice to my friends and colleagues,” Kletzel said. “First of all, download and familiarize yourself with the digital apps and the airline websites. Because if something does go wrong, the odds of being able to get in-person assistance is going to be fairly limited, so digital is going to be key.”

After getting to know your airline digitally, he said to start looking at the cancellation and change policies of airlines, hotels, and car rentals. He also recommends, if possible, buying status with an airline.

“I know it’s an additional cost,” Kletzel said. “But if you’re generally concerned about this, having status with an airline then puts you at the front of the line when there is a cancellation for the booking accommodation.”

Alaska Airlines planes are shown with Mount Rainier in the background at sunrise at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport earlier this year. One way to sidestep cancellations is to book the first flight of the day.
Alaska Airlines planes are shown with Mount Rainier in the background at sunrise at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport earlier this year. One way to sidestep cancellations is to book the first flight of the day. Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

Another important way to sidestep cancellations is to book the first flight of the day. Bad weather often creates a domino effect, and cancellations build throughout the day. Other simple steps can help save your sanity, such as making sure all of your devices are charged before you get to the airport, given the scarcity of power outlets in some terminals.

No matter how perfectly everything is planned, it doesn’t hurt to have a back-up plan. Kletzel even suggests a driving back-up plan. If your destination can be reached in 6, 8, or 10 hours by car, sometimes it’s more efficient to drive than fly if flight cancellations are stretched over days.

But (and this is where I’ll again cry wolf again, and mean it), remember that rental cars are not as plentiful as they were pre-pandemic. The advice from experts is to reserve your rental car even before you book the hotel. Don’t put it off until the last minute. Another tip — and rental car companies will not like this — but book from more than one company just to make sure. There’s no penalty for bailing on a rental.

In May, there was a long line to rent cars at Miami International Airport. The advice from experts is to reserve your rental car even before you book the hotel. Don’t put it off.
In May, there was a long line to rent cars at Miami International Airport. The advice from experts is to reserve your rental car even before you book the hotel. Don’t put it off.Marta Lavandier/Associated Press

“The shortage is acute in destination markets,” Taylor said. “There’s a shortage of cars, as we all know. Companies sold a lot of their fleets during the height of the pandemic because they wanted to conserve cash. But then demand came back faster than anybody expected. It’s not really anybody’s fault.”

Because you’ll potentially be facing large crowds out there, and COVID-19 loves large crowds, is it worth traveling at all?

“I think people need to travel,” said Dr. Teresa Bartlett, senior medical officer of Sedgwick. She advises companies and institutions on medical strategies and best practices. “They need it for their mental health. They need to see their family and their friends and have vacations and experience life.”

It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: Get vaccinated, get boosted, wear a mask over your mouth and nose, wash your hands, use hand sanitizer.

But first and foremost, just be nice to people. Don’t start punching fellow passengers or flight attendants. Don’t push, don’t yell, and smile a lot.

“Be nice to the employees,” Kletzel said. “People are just trying to do a job. In general, the nicer you are to the staff at the hotels and the employees at the airport, the better your chances of coming through the experience feeling good about the holidays.”

Christopher Muther can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @Chris_Muther.

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IAG seeks to return to profitability next year | News

International Airlines Group has reported an operating loss of €452 million for the third quarter of financial 2021.

The figure compares to a loss of €1,923 million seen during the same period last year.

The group – which controls British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus – reported operating losses of €2,487 million for the first nine months of the year, down from €5,975 million for the same period last year.

Luis Gallego, IAG chief executive, said: “There’s a significant recovery underway and our teams across the group are working hard to capture every opportunity.

“We continue to capitalise on surges in bookings when travel restrictions are lifted.”

He added: “All our airlines have shown improvements with the group’s operating loss more than halved compared to previous quarters.

“In quarter three, our operating cash flow was positive for the first time since the start of the pandemic and our liquidity is higher than ever, reaching €12.1 billion on a pro forma basis at the end of October.

“The full reopening of the transatlantic travel corridor from Monday is a pivotal moment for our industry.

“British Airways is serving more US destinations than any transatlantic carrier and we’re delighted that we can get our customers flying again.”

In the short term, IAG said it was focused on getting ready to operate as much capacity as it could, setting the company up to return to profitability in 2022.

However, losses are expected to total €3 billion this year.

“Our teams are creating opportunities,” said Gallego, “and implementing initiatives to transform our business and preparing it for the future so that we emerge more competitive.

“This includes initiatives such as our new short-haul operation at Gatwick, Vueling’s expansion at Paris-Orly, Aer Lingus’ services from Manchester to the US and the Caribbean and our new maintenance model in Barcelona.”

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Why Holiday Travel May Feel More Stressful This Year

In addition to the usual stressors that come with holiday travel, there’s a lot to consider while navigating it all through a global pandemic.

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For many people, this year may bring unique stressors when considering holiday travel. Willie B. Thomas/Getty Images

More than a year and a half into the COVID-19 pandemic and heading into the second holiday season living with the virus, it’s safe to say stress levels for Americans are still sky-high.

The latest data from the American Psychological Association’s Stress in America poll found that 1 in 3 survey respondents report feeling stressed about the coronavirus pandemic and that they have difficulty making even fundamental decisions, such as what to wear or what to eat.

Though the usual stressors come with the holidays and holiday travel, there’s a lot to consider while navigating it all through an ever-changing global pandemic.

“Thankfully, we’re in a better position now given the increased vaccination rates, so travel will more manageable and feasible,” said Paraskevi Noulas, PsyD, a psychologist at NYU Langone Health. “That said, we still have to exercise caution and be thoughtful about our travel plans.”

First, it’s essential to acknowledge what living on the edge for the past year and a half has meant for our stress and anxiety levels.

“Experiencing chronic stress has negative impacts on our overall health,” Noulas said. “As many have seen and experienced firsthand, routines are thrown off, activity levels drop, depressive and anxiety symptoms increase, and substance use increases. It’s a negative domino effect.”

Being hypervigilant for extended periods can also wreak havoc on our nervous system.

“It becomes increasingly difficult to shift into a calmer state physically and emotionally,” Noulas continued.

For many Americans, this year may bring unique stressors when considering holiday travel, particularly when it comes to visiting family members who have chosen not to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Travelers this holiday season will also have to contend with new rules and regulations around testing and vaccination status depending on their destination and longer wait times to allow for these checks and more thorough sanitizing protocols than in years past.

Below, we offer expert advice on how to deal with holiday travel stress during COVID-19 and what you can do to help make travel as smooth as possible.

Many people have chosen to travel by car since the beginning of the pandemic.

“It allows you to feel safe and comfortable in your own private space, to take your time getting to and from your destination, and to take as many breaks as needed or desired,” Noulas said.

She notes that traveling by train is another option that offers some control — you can hop on and off fairly easily, get up and stretch, and walk to other compartments.

If your destination requires you to travel by air, there are some steps you can take to ease stress and make the trip as comfortable as possible.

“Try to sit in a part of the plane that is least populated, wear your mask at all times unless eating or drinking, and generously use hand sanitizer,” Noulas advised.

This holiday season might be their first time in an airport since before the pandemic for many in the United States. Air travel will look a bit different compared to then.

“Give yourself a good chunk of additional time to what you allowed pre-COVID when traveling,” Fin McCarthy, editorial director at Lonely Planet, advised. “Security checks take a lot longer with COVID regulations, and expect long lines for anywhere selling food or drink in airport or train lounges.”

Depending on your destination, documentation confirming your COVID-19 vaccination status or a negative COVID-19 antigen or PCR test may be needed to enter a country or access indoor venues like museums and restaurants.

Do your research to know what documentation will be needed and have it ready before you travel.

“I would advise anyone traveling to bring multiple printouts of vaccination certificates with you,” McCarthy said. “Phones can get lost and lose battery life. Give everyone traveling in your group copies of relevant certs, and ensure everyone brings photo ID when out and about.”

Because you might need to spend extra time at the airport due to COVID-19 regulations, planning and packing everything you’ll need is essential.

“Bring snacks and food for the day in Tupperware so nothing gets squashed, and keep in mind the in-flight snack service on many routes is not the same level as what it was pre-COVID,” McCarthy said. “Take a book you know you will enjoy, a phone charger, and download several podcasts or audiobooks on your fully charged phone before leaving home.”

Make sure anything you’ll need in the following 24 hours, including a toothbrush, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, hand cream, lip balm, and medication you regularly take, is in your carry-on.

“A warm shawl or scarf can be such an asset on a flight, and bring noise-canceling headphones if you have them,” McCarthy said. “Wear comfy shoes and cozy clothes. Dress as you would for a winter evening relaxing on your sofa at home.”

“Holidays are a time for people to come together and show warmth, love, and caring for one another,” Noulas said.

If you’re vaccinated and need to decide whether to see unvaccinated loved ones, there are steps you can take to do so safely.

“Consider ways to meet outside, perhaps in the backyard with a firepit or outdoor seating at a restaurant with heaters,” Noulas said. “If you believe the differences will be too great this year to allow for a peaceful holiday experience, consider spending time with loved ones who are vaccinated and connect with unvaccinated loved ones virtually.”

Suppose you do spend time with others who are still hesitant about getting vaccinated against COVID-19. In that case, Noulas recommends focusing on other topics that will bring you closer together rather than push you apart, such as updates with family members, past memorable events, and future travel plans.

If you’re feeling anxious and stressed while traveling, there are several strategies that may help calm you.

“If feeling anxious, try grounding yourself through different techniques, such as what colors, shapes or sizes you see around you; your favorite list of books or movies, rubbing lavender oil onto your wrists or neck, or listen to classical or instrumental music,” Noulas recommended.

Deep breathing is another strategy to calm anxiety. “Normal breath in, slow, long exhale out. Rinse and repeat for a few minutes until you feel physically calmer,” Noulas said.

Various apps and YouTube videos can guide you through deep breathing and related guided imagery and meditation practices, as well as progressive muscle relaxation — a simple process of tensing each muscle group for a few seconds and then releasing from head to toes.

“Finally, praying or reciting a favorite verse or lyrics can also be soothing and help you feel safer and calmer,” Noulas said.

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Preparing for holiday travel this year

(LEX 18) — Spooky season is officially over and that means it’s time to turn our attention to holiday travel.

Travel experts say if you have not yet booked your flights for the holidays to do it as soon as possible to guarantee you have a seat and pay a decent price.

This year, travelers are also encouraged to work with a travel advisor who can help in stressful situations, and to use frequent flier points since it’s easier to get refunds that way.

Triple-A recommends padding your trips with an extra day or two and checking flight status days in advance.

Above all, Triple-A says preparation is key this year.

“We like to say, pack the patience. I mean, it’s just kind of a unique time, so some things are unavoidable or you just can’t predict,” said travel agency owner Lia Vincent.

“There’s fewer flights that are going to be available for the holidays, so it’s important to book as early as possible. Not only to save money but just to make sure you have a seat.” says Triple-A spokesperson Daniel Armbruster.

Last month, the CDC warned unvaccinated Americans to delay travel until they’re fully vaccinated. It’s not likely that guidance will change before the holidays.

Travel experts also recommend a travel insurance policy that covers COVID-19, in case you get sick or need to cancel a trip last minute. You can also use websites to check how safe a place is before you get there.

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2021 Holiday Trends Show More Americans Set To Travel This Year

According to the newest Amex Trendex report, consumers’ desire for travel is strong, especially given the trend towards remote work that provides them with more flexibility in terms of scheduling their travel days. With all indications thus far pointing toward more people traveling this holiday season than in 2020, American Express sought to discover more about travelers’ motives, desires, dreams and plans for the final months of 2021.

Eager to reclaim some semblance of normalcy, consumers appear to be embracing the holiday spirit wholeheartedly and again engaging in activities that may have been put on hold last year. In fact, close to half (48 percent) of survey participants said they have already started their holiday shopping. And, 38 percent reported that they plan on spending more on the holidays this year.


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Nearly half (47 percent) survey-takers are planning to travel for at least one holiday this season. And, the shift toward working remotely, catalyzed by COVID-19, is working in people’s favor. It may even make the holiday travel period a bit less hectic, since 61 percent of employed respondents agreed that it gives them the flexibility to avoid the busiest travel days. Among employed participants, 57 percent also said it allows them the flexibility to extend their trips.

And, only 17 percent of respondents are planning to have a ‘hybrid holiday’ this year, combining in-person and virtual gatherings, as was recommended during the 2020 holidays. Seventy-one percent said they’ll be celebrating the 2021 end-of-year holidays with more family members and loved ones in-person than last year. Forty-four percent of respondents are planning on traveling to visit family or friends in person this year.

As new consumer trends take shape approaching the pandemic’s second holiday season, 61 percent of those surveyed agreed that holiday plans will look different this year and into the future. The “book now, figure it out later” trend first identified earlier this year is ongoing, with 63 percent of consumers surveyed saying that they’re willing to book a trip now even if they may have to cancel it later.

Amex, Trendex, remote work, consumer, survey, trends, holidays, 2021
Amex Trendex Holiday Travel 2021 trends surrounding remote work. (image via American Express)

Other significant Amex Trendex survey findings include:

—Of all consumers surveyed, nearly half (49 percent) plan to travel on or before the Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving (November 23) compared to just 29 percent who plan to travel on Thanksgiving Day itself (November 25).

—Forty-two percent of participants said they would skip celebrating Thanksgiving in the U.S. in order to take an international vacation.

—Seventy-seven percent would rather take a vacation with their significant other than exchange gifts, and 68 percent would forgo exchanging gifts with their family to instead go on a family vacation.

Holiday, holidays, trends, consumer, survey, results, 2021
Amex Trendex Holiday Travel Trends for 2021 findings. (image courtesy of American Express)

—Many U.S. consumers would like to receive a domestic (65 percent) or international (49 percent) trip as a gift this season.

—Fifty-two percent indicated that one of their New Year’s resolutions will be to take more vacation time in 2022 than they did in 2021.

—Fifty-five percent of respondents said they plan on traveling between one and three times during 2022, while 39 percent plan to travel four or more times next year.

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