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‘Prices are rock bottom low,’ local travel agencies see uptick in vacation bookings

If you book a vacation, there's a big checklist
Posted at 9:39 PM, May 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-06 08:54:12-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Vacation prices are down, bookings are up and according to local travel agents, it’s the right time to plan a trip – so long as you cover your bases.

For the last couple of months, airports have been empty and parked planes have filled tarmacs across the country.

“It’s been really tragic for our industry,” said Jennifer Dunyon, the executive vice president for Get Away Today, a travel agency based in Ogden.

Now, following weeks of staying at home, many travelers are chomping at the bit to take a trip.

“A lot of people are booking now for fall,” Dunyon said. “People want something to look forward to, they want to make those memories with their families.”

“Every survey shows an incredible pent up desire to travel,” said Larry Gelwix with Columbus Travel out of Bountiful. “We’re seeing, every week, our bookings increase significantly.”

Both Gelwix and Dunyon said they hoped and expected people to start traveling again, but there is one thing they didn’t see coming…rock bottom prices.

“These are once in a lifetime prices,” Gelwix said. “In my 40-years in the travel business, I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Exactly how low are the prices? Doing a quick search FOX 13 found week-long all-inclusive vacations for a few hundred dollars and cruises for even less.

“How about a 6-day cruise to Bermuda out of New York for 189 dollars? I mean come on, come on!” Gelwix said. “That’s a heck of a deal!”

But, is it a good idea to book a trip with an uncertain travel future? If you ask Larry, “Yes! Now is the time to start looking!” However, he does recommend a few things to help people cover their bases.

First things first, “Read very carefully the terms, cancellations and refund policies.”

If you are booking a flight, find out the airlines cancellation policy and note whether or not they will waive a re-booking fee.

For cruise lines, know when you can cancel by and if you can get a future cruise credit or cash refund.

When it comes to hotels, ask about their sanitation policy.

And finally, Gelwix said if you are in the market for travel insurance, make sure to buy a policy that allows you to ‘cancel for any reason.’

“People want reassurance that they’re going to be safe and that’s what we all want,” he continued. “The best travel deals are going to be late this summer, fall and winter -- 2020 is the year, is the time to go, of course we want to go safely and healthy.”