Some Iowans are still trying to decide what they’ll wear to this weekend’s Halloween costume party, but one expert is urging them to think ahead to their year-end holiday travel plans and book them, pronto.
Meredith Mitts, spokeswoman for AAA-Iowa, says the sooner you lock in your plane tickets, hotel reservations or cruise plans, the better. “As we’re getting closer to the holidays, the cost for airfare rises and the availability shrinks,” Mitts says. “So, the farther out you can plan those flights and those items, the better chance you have of getting those ideal time slots and being able to make those plans in a cost-efficient way and get where you want to go on time.”
Travel troubles, especially with airlines, have made the news lately and if you haven’t bought travel insurance in the past, Mitts says you may want to start. “What we’ve been seeing recently is numerous flight delays or cancellations and there will be a possibility for that to happen around the holidays,” Mitts says. “Travel insurance can help protect you if there are unexpected costs, such as a hotel, transportation or food. You may also receive compensation if there is lost luggage or if your flight is delayed for as little as three hours.”
A survey by the motor club finds 35-percent of Iowa respondents say they’ve already reserved their holiday trips by the end of October. So where are they going? “Iowans are planning to go to a major city or metro — about 34% of them are going to one of those two locations, but almost half of the Iowans are going somewhere else with easy access to the great outdoors,” Mitts says. “Beach destinations, state and national parks, and resort vacations top those lists followed by land tours.”
Travel was down significantly a year ago due to the pandemic, but the advent of COVID-19 vaccines has changed perceptions. Mitts says compared to last year, when the vaccine wasn’t available, 26-percent of Iowans surveyed say they’re more comfortable traveling this holiday season. Over half (56%) say they feel the same as last year. Also, more than a quarter (27%) of Iowans site a fear of contracting or spreading COVID-19 as their reason for not traveling this holiday season.