Planning to travel around the holidays? You better start booking now

Posted at 8:58 AM, Jul 23, 2021

(WXYZ) — Temperatures are heating up in Michigan and a lot of people still have summer vacations to enjoy.

The holidays may seem like a long way off, but when it comes to travel plans, you might want to book sooner rather than later.

Jill Jones, a travel concierge with Cadillac Travel in Oakland County, said the holiday rush is already on.

"I can’t say this enough. It is not too early. And people should be doing this," Jones said.

According to Jones, availability is getting less and less and prices are going up.

"I’m seeing hotels like in Riviera Maya – which is an extremely popular holiday family destination – definitely more expensive than they were last year and getting more expensive for that holiday – that major holiday period which everybody calls about - the day after Christmas to New Year’s Day," she said.

What's popular this upcoming winter? Destinations that don't have a lot of criteria surrounding COVID-19 for entry.

“Jamaica, any of the Caribbean islands. Mexico and the Dominican Republic don’t even require a test for U.S. citizens. So those are extremely popular especially if you have kids because it’s one less step to have to do," Jones said.

You still may need a negative COVID-19 test before boarding a flight back to the United States.

If you're thinking of traveling internationally, check your passport. Jones said many of her clients' passports expired during the pandemic.

According to the State Department, renewing your passport by mail can take up to 18 weeks. With expedited service, which costs an extra $60, it's taking up to 12 weeks.

There's also the car rental shortage.

“I start with a car rental because in certain destinations – especially Hawaii, Florida – cars are extremely limited and very expensive," Jones said.

She added that people want to book trips starting the day after Christmas through New Years Day.

If you can be flexible about dates, you may get better pricing and availability.

Also, Jones suggests you consider another option besides a beach destination, like a few days in Sedona with a day trip to the Grand Canyon or even Las Vegas, which has become more of a family destination.