DALLAS — With COVID-19 still a major concern across the country, it might not be the perfect time to “take” a vacation, but it is the perfect time to plan one, according to Roger Dow, CEO of the U.S. Travel Association.
“Anticipation of a future trip almost rivals taking the trip itself,” Dow said.
That’s backed up by research that shows planning a vacation and having a trip to look forward to correlates with a happier outlook on life.
Spending time finding the right hotels, restaurants, and sights to see can be good for your mental health now even if your trip isn’t for another six months, according to Samantha Brown, travel host.
“It is a sense of optimism as we travel and we all need it,” Brown said.
The optimism is desperately needed among families who have been cooped up at home for almost a year.
“Our children have not seen their parents lighten up and have a good time,” Brown said. “As you’re planning these trips six months out, think about the places that are going to bring delight to you.”
But if what you really need is a break from your own family, Brown said that’s okay too.
“Some of us have been with our family way too much so we are really looking for maybe like a solo trip,” she said. “I don’t even need a luxury hotel, give me the cookies, give me the wine and I can just have a weekend to myself where I can do whatever I want.”
Working and learning remotely also open up a world of possibilities for longer trips.
“They can sort of embed themselves in a location or travel more and just work remotely,” Brown said.
Dow said there’s also never been a better time to get the most out of a modest budget.
“There are terrific offers out there right now, combined with great flexibility to cancel or change if your plans change,” he said.
With COVID-19 still top of mind, Dow said the idea is to book now when rates are low and travel later when the conditions are safer.
“I want to encourage everybody to get the vaccine when it’s available," Dow said. "If we all do our part, 'back to normal' is going to come back much sooner.”