Airfares in the United States are on the rise, rental cars are scarce, and scouring vacation home rental websites for gems in popular destinations is the new disaster for some desperate Americans. ‘a getaway to the 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 full this 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 the same week in 2019, according to figures from Transparent, a data analysis company for the short-term rental industry.
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 to delay their travel 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 each eventual coupon and applicable membership discount (Costco, AARP, loyalty programs, etc.) and tracking price reductions.
“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.
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, Weinberg says. 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.
“Ridership 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%.
Amtrak is restoring daily service on 12 long-haul routes spaced between May 24 and June 7.
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.
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.
‘Insanely Scenic’ 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.
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 turned into recreational facilities for the family, says Steve Lyons, director of the Maine Office of Tourism.
Kids stay free during July and August at Weatherby’s, a historic camp in Grand Lake Stream, where families can learn to fish from a licensed guide.
While many of the more popular cabins and campsites in national and national parks are likely booked for the summer, travelers heading out mid-week or to more remote parks are likely to find camping options. On southcarolinaparks.com and other state sites, you can filter what you’re 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 are lifted on May 19. The state and city are both reporting low COVID-19 test positivity rates.
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 a fraction of 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 eyeing 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 very expensive cost way more 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.