Travelers Are Booking Flights in Record Numbers

Travelers with suitcases walking through a crowded airport terminal.

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The number of air travelers is increasing now that more people are vaccinated. What could this mean for your travel plans?

Many people have been stuck at home for over a year due to restrictions and pandemic safety concerns. As more and more people get vaccinated and restrictions begin to ease, the desire to plan a vacation is strong.

That could be why U.S. travelers are booking flights in record numbers. And if you're planning to fly soon, you'll want to prepare before jetting off on your own adventure. Keep reading to learn more about what to expect and how flying could impact your personal finances.

More travelers are flying in 2021

On the first Sunday of May, a record number of travelers took to the skies. According to TSA checkpoint travel numbers, 1.6 million people were screened at United States airports. While these numbers remain lower than 2019 levels, this is still impressive. Exactly one year prior, during the beginning months of the pandemic, the TSA screened just over 170,000 travelers. A lot has changed in a year.

The Associated Press notes that the TSA has screened at least 1 million passengers per day since March 11, 2021. These numbers show that leisure travel is on the rise. It'll be interesting to see how this number grows as more people get vaccinated and feel more at ease about traveling during a pandemic.

If you're considering traveling but are wary about safety amid the pandemic, there is some good news. The TSA recently extended its mask mandate, requiring travelers to wear face masks throughout security checkpoints, as well as commercial and public transportation systems through Sept. 13, 2021. This measure will help increase safety through the busy summer travel months.

What the increased travel demand could mean for you

With the demand for travel increasing more people will be booking flights. That means you may end up paying higher prices when making your air travel reservations. So it's a good idea to start planning the details of your trip now. Planning travel sooner can save you money and can also ensure that you get the dates and times that you want.

You should also expect planes to be full. All major U.S. airlines have stopped blocking off middle seats. That means you may be on a crowded aircraft when you next take flight, especially if it's over the busy summer months when people typically use their vacation time. Knowing what to expect in advance will help you better enjoy your travels.

Whether you're traveling by air or by car, the increased demand for travel may impact your plans. For example, there is a shortage of rental cars available, and prices have significantly increased. If you hope to rent a car for an upcoming vacation, you'll want to budget more money for this expense. You might also consider alternative options like using a car-sharing service for your trip.

How to deal with the increased demand for travel

You may be concerned about your travel plans now that the rest of the world is eager to travel. Here are some things that you can do as you start to plan for your trip:

  • Set a vacation budget and stick to it. If you begin to plan a trip and find that the costs are way higher than you can afford, come up with a new plan. Taking a trip closer to home or planning a five-night adventure instead of a weeklong trip can help you keep more money in your bank account.
  • Use a travel rewards credit card when making reservations. You'll earn points on your spending, and you can redeem these points in the future for another getaway. If you don't yet have a rewards card, here are the top travel rewards credit cards.
  • It's never too early to begin planning. Even if you're planning to travel in a few months, now is the time to start making your reservations. Booking your trip now will allow you to lock in the current rates before they potentially rise in the coming weeks.

People are eager to travel, and passengers are showing up in record numbers to get on flights. But that shouldn't stop you from planning a safe and exciting vacation. For more information, check out how to travel safely while on a budget.

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