CHICAGO - It is the perfect "travel storm" – COVID restrictions are easing in many places and it's summer time. That means the pent up demand for leisure travel is being unleashed.
In a FOX 32 special report, Sally Schulze takes a look at how to find the best deals and a new way to pay for your trip.
Monty Childs calls "Sweet Home Chicago" home, but he cannot wait to leave town.
"Like most people, I’ve been living and working in the same place for about the last 15 months," he said.
Monty and his daughter, Ava, are avid travelers. So far, he is planning at least three trips before the year ends.
"I’m the definition of a person who has cabin fever right now," he said. "Since none of us were able to spend too much this last year, I am looking at it as an opportunity to more than make up for it."
Like many other agencies, AAA Travel is really starting to see business take off again.
"We’ve seen huge pent up demand," said Debbie Haas, Vice President of Travel for AAA. "If you look at bookings for 2022, it is well above where we would normally be this time in the prior year."
With more people now looking to get away, experts say the sooner you can decide where you want to go, the better.
"There will be more competition for the particulars you want," Haas said. "Locking in the places that provide the service, quality and experiences you want is something you can do best with lead time."
AAA also recommends working with an agent when travel demand is high.
"If they already know what’s on your mind and what matters to you, then they can quickly match you up, because of a lot of these deals go quickly," Haas said.
When it comes to a budget, you may or may not be planning on sticking to one for your next trip.
If you are, experts say an all-inclusive resort to a cruise is a good way to do it.
For those who do not have the money saved up to pay for a trip now, they do not have to wait until they do.
"A lot more buy now, pay later options are available to consumers across the spectrum for vacations and other consumer products," said Desmond Brown, Assistant Director of Consumer Education for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
That is one of the big changes the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has noticed in consumer spending since the pandemic began.
When deciding how to pay for your trip, the bureau says it is important to think about other expenses you have and others that may pop up.
"Often people who are not paying attention to their budget and not keeping on top of their budget, you can spend more than you were anticipating," Brown said. "A lot of times, emergencies will come up that you weren’t expecting. That’s why they call them emergencies. You have to pay for those things and then you find yourself over extended and in debt."
If you think that will not happen to you, Brown also mentioned that the bureau is seeing credit card debt staring to rise again.
The good news is, after you figure how you want to pay for your trip, all you have to do is sit back and relax.
"I love travel. If I were retired I’d do it 300 days of the year," Childs said.
When planning your next trip, experts also recommend looking into travel insurance. Since the pandemic, some polices now include coverage for COVID – whether you get it before or during your trip.