By Shannon Traphagen

I think we can all agree, it’s been a long year stuck at home. Many people are dreaming about when they can travel once again, especially as we enter the warmer weather of WNY. While counting down the days may feel like torture, planning and booking a vacation for later this year can give you something to look forward to.

Now may be the perfect time to start thinking about your next adventure. Vrbo, an online rental vacation marketplace, offers tips for planning a future trip – even if you’re not certain exactly when you’ll take it.

Start by researching travel restrictions: It’s important to make sure you’re up to date on any restrictions your potential destinations may have in place. Though the vaccine may help lessen restrictions in some areas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains updated guidance and travel warnings based on the risk level of certain areas, which can help direct your vacation decisions. Once you’ve booked travel plans, it is prudent to check in frequently as the trip approaches and prepare a backup plan.

High demand areas: Many hotels, rentals, and resorts may already be booked for summer in popular locations due to optimism around the vaccine, increased demand for domestic travel and families planning multiple trips this year. In fact, travel sites are reporting that travelers have already started locking in private vacation homes at top summer destinations earlier this year. To better your odds of securing your desired travel dates, accommodations and activities, book as early as you can to help off-set the increased demand.

Take advantage of deals with longer stays: Many sectors of the travel industry offer special deals for reserving trips in advance, and some of the best deals can be found by bundling airfare and lodging or booking extended week or month-long stays. These longer vacations can lead to fewer available dates to choose from, but some travel companies offer search filters that help travelers find discounts for staying longer periods of time.

When possible, opt for flexible booking: If you’re eager to plan a vacation right away, be sure to review and understand cancellation policies for your preferred accommodations, airline, and activities. Many have changed their policies due to the pandemic, so be sure to know how long you have to cancel or change dates without incurring additional fees or penalties. For example, when booking a private vacation rental, where hosts set their cancellation terms, you can use the “free cancellation” filter to search for properties with flexible policies, some of which allow cancellations up to 14 days before check-in for a full refund.

Consider your budget: The pandemic has impacted everyone financially. When considering future travel plans, keep in mind the budget you want to work within and set a goal early on. Many places offer inexpensive getaways such as glamping experiences, RV rentals, and campgrounds.

For more tips to start planning your next getaway, visit,, or any local travel agency in WNY. For further information on travel guidelines visit