FAQs: Expert Says 2021 Travel Forecast is ‘Partly Sunny'

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It’s the start of a new year and maybe you wanted to make some 2021 travel plans, but are unsure if that’s a good idea considering we’re still heavily in a pandemic.

NBC 6 anchor Sheli Muñiz spoke to travel expert Henry Harteveldt, President of Atmosphere Research Group, about what the year could look like.

Sheli: What is the travel forecast for 2021?

Harteveldt: Well, the travel forecast for 2021 is partly sunny, let's put it that way. The industry is hoping and our research indicates that we will start to see a meaningful rebound starting around the middle of the year once we get to critical mass of people getting vaccinated, domestic travel will rebound before international but fingers crossed that this year will see the industry get back to about 50% of pre-Covid levels.

Sheli: When is the best time to book? Should we be booking something for the fall now?

Harteveldt: A lot depends on what you are booking and where you want to go.  So, if you're looking for domestic travel or travel within North America, it's certainly a good time to shop and you can book with confidence. If you're considering a flight to Europe, Asia or another long-haul destination, book hotels as long as you can get a refund if you cancel in advance. Shop for your flights but hold off because of the uncertainty because of travel restrictions.

Sheli: Should we get travel insurance?

Harteveldt: That's a personal decision but make sure it covers Covid. Keep in mind that a lot of major U.S. carriers have all said that they will no longer charge those annoying, expensive change fees. So, if you do have to cancel a trip, you can rebook it but you'll have to pay a fare difference.

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