SAN ANTONIO — The Delta variant is not causing a travel shutdown, more of a travel slowdown. The TSA said it screened fewer passengers in the last few weeks. Part of that is the peak summer travel season is ending but it also has to do with renewed coronavirus fears.
“We’re seeing people talk about canceling or pushing off plans that they’ve made, so it’s definitely weighing on travelers as they think about how to move forward with some of the travel plans,” said Melanie Lieberman, the travel editor for The Points Guy.
Travelers are waiting to book trips closer to departure.
“Pre-pandemic booking advance travelers to book about 45 days or about a month and half before their day of departure,” said Adit Damodaran, an economist for travel app Hopper. “That’s now down to about 35 days and so that suggest the travelers may be felling hesitant to book those flight further out.”
That reluctance could save you money if you are comfortable traveling. Airline ticket prices are dropping. The cost is down about $30 currently.
“It could be a good time to sort of plan for those Christmas flights or Thanksgiving travel, especially because as prices go down, those really good deals then to crop up,” said Damodaran. “So even if you’re planning for travel early next year, it could be a good time to book those flights.”
Before you book a trip, look at the cancelation policy. Some policies are no longer as flexible as they one were.
“One of the things travelers need to be mindful of is whether or not their reservation is going to allow them to cancel for a refund or if they are allowed to take that cancelation and they’ll receive their money back in the form of a voucher because they are not the same thing,” Lieberman said.
Travel experts say it might be worth paying a bit more for reservations that offer a flexible cancelation policy, should you need it.
One more headache for travelers depending on their destination: COVID testing. Make sure you have enough time to take a test if required. Also, confirm what type of test is needed.