Why you should have a plan B aligned

Don’t go, go here.

This is the message of the travel industry during the summer travel boom. When everything is complete, you can always have a great vacation.

Experts predict a record summer for travel, with hotels and flights sold out and no rental cars available. More than three-quarters of Americans plan to take a summer vacation, according to a Harris poll commissioned by Let’s Go There, a travel industry coalition. This is an astonishing 48% increase from a year ago. But unless you’ve booked your summer vacation well in advance, you might need a Plan B.

So how do you avoid the crowds? How to find a suitable alternative? And most importantly, how do you know if your alternative destination will work for you?

How to avoid the crowds this summer

To avoid record crowds, you need to start planning your trip as soon as possible. Don’t worry, there is still time. Vacation rental site Vrbo is seeing record demand this summer, but spokeswoman Alison Kwong said some areas were still available.

“We continue to see pent-up demand for Vrbo vacation homes in major Northeast and Southeast beach destinations, such as the Jersey Shore, Cape Cod, the Outer Banks and Hilton Head. In some areas, less than 10% of Vrbo vacation homes are still available for July, and demand continues to be high through August. “

Others see the same trend. Vacasa reports that many top vacation destinations already have twice as many bookings as normal for this summer on the books. “Customers who have not yet booked their accommodation may need to be flexible about the location,” advises Natalia Sutin, vice president of revenue management at Vacasa.

But how? For beach vacation rentals, you can swap Hilton Head for a location like Cape Canaveral or Sanibel Island in Florida or Tybee Island, Georgia, according to Vrbo. In the northeast, popular alternative destinations include Fairfield and New London, Connecticut, and Deep Creek Lake, Maryland.

Strategies for finding an alternative destination

How to find an alternative place to go on vacation? It takes research, flexibility – and unconventional thinking.

The hidden gem Plan B. “Hidden Gem” is the travel industry language for a lesser-known destination that ticks the boxes of a more popular destination. A place like the Mississippi Gulf Coast can offer many of the cultural and culinary experiences of neighboring New Orleans. “There is an incredible amount of things to do, see and experience on the Mississippi Coast,” said Anna Roy, spokesperson for the Mississippi Gulf Coast. This includes some things you won’t find in the big city, like kayaking, boating, fishing, and hiking.

The Mississippi Gulf Coast can be a good substitute for popular beach destinations.

The counter-current plan B. You can always go to a destination that no one else wants to visit during the summer. “Vegas, baby! Says Karen Aronian, educational consultant in New York. Seriously. “There is something for everyone in Vegas,” she says. This includes the scorching weather of Sin City (average high of 107 degrees in July). If you want to cool off, you can head to nearby Lake Mead or visit the Hoover Dam, where the guided dam tour is a great opportunity to get out of the heat.

If you can handle the heat, you might find that Las Vegas is less crowded in the summer than at other times of the year.

Plan B off the beaten track. If you head to the mountains this summer, you might find that well-known resorts like Vail or Breckenridge are running near full capacity. The off the beaten path plan makes you drive a bit longer for a similar experience. For example, instead of heading to the overcrowded hill stations of Colorado, consider the Royal Gorge area, just two hours south of Denver. “People love to visit the Royal Gorge area for all kinds of reasons,” says Lindsay Diamond, consultant at VistaWorks, a destination management company representing the area. “It has incredible trail systems, the famous Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, and the Royal Gorge Route Railway.”

Are you looking for a secluded mountain retreat?  Consider Royal Gorge, Colorado.

Plan B, let’s try something new. Here’s another approach: don’t even try to replace one place with another of the same kind. Instead, go for something completely different. For example, you can’t compete with the Orlando theme parks. But you can find a different experience on the Florida Space Coast. It also has things Orlando doesn’t have, like the Kennedy Space Center, regular rocket launches, and the Brevard Zoo, which also gives visitors the unique opportunity to kayak around the exhibits. As an added bonus, the Space Coast is more affordable than Orlando, so you get more for your money.

Florida's Space Coast has something Orlando doesn't: the ability to attend a NASA launch in person.

What if you had to be there?

Reality check: Sometimes you have to vacation near a popular destination. Maybe your family is planning to end up in the Hamptons or Catalina Island, and you can’t avoid it. So how do you find a place to stay anyway?

I asked Katy Kassian, a frequent traveler and consultant from Sacramento, California. “My first instinct is to start from my first destination,” she told me. “Usually within a 40 km radius there are rooms, events and access to the main attraction of the first destination for the compromise of a short drive. “

Knowing where to go when everything is full this summer is not difficult. I found a lot of availability doing what Kassian does: get out of town. But you can also use any of the other B shots I mentioned, from finding a hidden gem to finding a completely different experience.

But my favorite Plan B is to just wait. In a few weeks, when school resumes, the crowds will be gone. And you can have the summer vacation you deserve.

Insider tips for finding a better plan B

Hire a pro. “Finding a reputable travel advisor can be extremely useful if your favorite vacation spot is already booked or if you are looking for a less crowded alternative,” says Daniel Durazo, spokesperson for Allianz Travel. “Travel counselors are adept at finding a hidden Plan B gem that has all the characteristics of what you’re looking for. “

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. That’s what Brandon Barron did when he recently rented an Airbnb in rural South Carolina. “Dig deeper,” he said. Instead of just reading the listing, he reached out to the owner directly to find out more about the property. The owner agreed to show her children around her farm during their stay. Barron, a frequent traveler who works for timeshare company Linx Legal, says this resulted in a better visit. Incidentally, you can contact the owners to negotiate almost anything, including a lower rate.

Think outside the borders. With people always nervous about traveling abroad, this could be the perfect summer to go abroad, says Ilana Silverman, luxury travel advisor at IMS Travel. She recently spotted a round-trip business class flight to Rome for just $ 1,850, for example. “Greece was one of the first countries in Europe to announce that it will be open to Americans this summer,” she adds.

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