Summer travel is heating up. Here’s what you need to know.

If you’re ready to travel, join the crowd.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says 7.1 million people passed through the Memorial Day Weekend, a 450% increase from last year.

In Orlando, airport traffic saw a nearly 500% increase from 2020 levels, just 12% off from 2019, with theme parks now open. The TSA is looking to hire 6,000 additional employees by Summer 2021 to handle the growing crowds. The major airlines have announced plans to increase flights and add new routes; United Airlines alone plans to add almost 500 daily domestic flights – including new routes to Hawaii. 

All this as the nation and globe work to vaccinate more of the population. Those who are vaccinated are ready to spend money and seek adventure. 

This week, 7 European Union countries announced plans for a digital COVID certificate, whichwill allow those with proof of vaccination to travel easily between 27 EU member nations. Travelers from the U.S. and U.K. will still face travel restrictions including possible quarantine rules for now. The U.K. is imposing more strict limits on outside visitors, with travelers from certain countries required to provide proof of a negative COVID test before entering.

Around the globe, the hospitality and tourism industries are offering incentives to travel, competing for your business. The state of Alaska is offering tourists ages 12 and up free COVID-19 vaccinations at the airport. In Nevada, one hotel CEO is underwriting 1000 free flights to Vegas to encourage bookings at his properties. The Thailand Tourism Authority is considering a program to offer a dollar-a-night hotel rooms to encourage foreign visits to vacation destinations including Phuket.

With demand rising so are prices. So get ready to bargain hunt, plan ahead and spend. Travel experts advise you stay on the lookout for potential scams. They suggest you remain wary of any calls promising free hotel stays, expensive COVID test offers, and discounted airline fares you didn’t request. 

That’s the bad news. The good news: this summer most of the country and the world is open to vaccinated travelers. So you can finally book that dream trip you’ve been imagining for a year.

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