NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The travel industry suffered more than a 40% reduction in consumer spending during the pandemic, but now things are taking off again.
CBS2’s Jessica Moore has inside tips on where to go and how to get there.READ MORE: Dirt Bikes Crushed On Staten Island As City Continues Crackdown On Illegal Rides
“I’ve been cooped for 14 months. I’ve saved a bit of money. I’m knocking something off of my bucket list,” said Christina Pedroni, senior vice president of Liberty Travel.
Pedroni says that’s what she’s hearing from customers. People are packing their bags and ready to go.
“Customers inquiring about things like national parks and Florida, Las Vegas and Hawaii,” Pedroni said.
They’re asking about some exotic destinations, too.
“Mexico and some of the Caribbean islands, like the Dominican Republic and Jamaica,” Pedroni said.
If you’ve been vaccinated, the world, or parts of it, is ready to greet you.
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“Greece is opening up on May 14. The rest of the European Union will start around June 15,” CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg said.
He adds there are some enticing airfares to get you there.
“Business class fares to Europe right now, in many cases, are under $800. That matches coach fares from a couple years ago,” he said.
“We are predicting that there are going to be a lot of blowout trips,” said Benet Wilson, from the Points Guy.
Experts like Wilson suggest this is a great time to cash in those saved up miles.READ MORE: New Jersey Senator Says COVID Survivors Should Enjoy Same Benefits As Fully Vaccinated People
“Fly first class and Cathay Pacific, where they serve you caviar for your appetizer and you have a full life flatbed. It’s a luxury experience, and normally those seats can cost upwards to $20,000,” she said.
But for now, we’re still traveling within the parameters of a pandemic and should plan wisely. Ask resorts about occupancy caps, for example.
“Is your kitchen open? Is your bar open? Are you practicing social distancing? What about separation of people in the pool? And if you’re not getting a satisfactory answer, there’s no reason to stay there,” Greenberg said.
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Also since the pandemic, rental car fleets have been dramatically reduced.
“In Hawaii, it’s so bad that people are now renting U-Hauls that are cheaper than regular cars,” Greenberg said.
Other prices are sky high, too.
“The cheapest rental I could get in Florida today for a small, compact car, for a day, is $411. So, for a 300- or 400-mile trip, take your own car,” Greenberg said.
Still, there have been accommodations made by the travel industry to benefit consumers.
“More flexibility for being able to make changes or to change destinations or change dates,” Pedroni said.
But that could change as demand picks up.
“Airfares right now are rising at the rate of about 7% a week but that’s compounded,” Greenberg said. “Book it now.”MORE NEWS: Hispanic Heritage Month: Port Chester Is Westchester County's First Majority-Hispanic Municipality
The cruise industry is planning on domestic ports opening in July for travelers and may be the safest way to go. Staff, crew and customers will all have to be vaccinated.