Planning a summer vacation? Waiting may be good idea, travel experts say

A plane sits on the tarmac at Salt Lake City International Airport Tuesday, April 7, 2020, in...
A plane sits on the tarmac at Salt Lake City International Airport Tuesday, April 7, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Airlines are suffering significantly as governments around the world urge people to stay at home to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The number of travelers screened last Thursday at U.S. airports was down 95% from the same day last year. Airlines such as Delta, American, United, Southwest and JetBlue have said they are applying for their share of $25 billion in federal grants designed to cover airline payrolls for the next six months. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Published: Apr. 13, 2020 at 9:06 PM CDT
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While no one for sure knows when we'll return to a sense of normalcy and begin to move on from the COVID-19 pandemic, when it comes to planning a summer vacation, travel experts say it might be a good idea to wait.

"My advice is to plan three to four months out right now. We just don't know how long this is going to last" says Matt Bert, a travel agent with AAA. "Yes, hopefully we go back to normal at the beginning of May, end of April, but other states, the country might be shut down, so we don't know what's going to happen with those places."

Bert says if you already planned a trip for the beginning or middle of summer, right now is the time to get your money back.

"I know right now a lot of airlines will change (their) cancellation policies at the moment, which is great," he says. "So you might want to take advantage of that now if you're thinking about postponing your trip because those policies can change at any minute."

Major airlines including American, Delta and United will waive fees if you booked a flight on a certain date and Airbnb offers flexible cancellation policies. But there are things to consider, including when to time your trip if you want to avoid long lines, crowded flights and challenges trying to book reservations.

Bert says when quarantine and stay-at-home orders lift, "it's going to be like the floodgates."

'And everyone is going to want to travel just because we've been in our house for so long," he says. "And then you might not have that hotel room."

AAA says there are options for you to enjoy the world from the comfort of your own home. Starting Tuesday (April 14), AAA is introducing virtual experiences where participants essentially enjoy tastes of taking vacations around the world without moving from their couches.

"We're going to start with Iceland, Ireland, Egypt, a couple different destinations while sitting at home," Bert says.

He says the virtual experiences can serve as previews to places you may want to actually visit someday.

"This is a great time to start planning that trip, whether it's three months from now, a year from now," Bert says.

Virtual travel events are free to the public. All you have to do is