In a busy summer travel season, planning is key

NOW: In a busy summer travel season, planning is key

WISCONSIN (CBS 58) -- The pandemic has loosened its grip, and many Wisconsinites are eager to travel. That has led to shortages and scams, so the advice from experts is to plan ahead to make sure your vacation is fun and relaxing. 

Trae Bodge, smart shopping expert, says deals are hard to come by this season.

“Summer travel is hot, hot, hot and it is causing issues all over the place,” she said. 

The way we put a trip together post-pandemic has changed. Bodge says securing a rental car should now be at the top of your list.

“Travelers will make their plans with their hotel and airfare but leave the car until the last minute which is customary to do, but then they’re finding that there’s no car available,” she said. 

Why the shortage? More people are taking road trips because they are not yet comfortable with flying, and used car prices have spiked.

“Rental car companies are selling their used cars because there is a high demand for used cars right now,” Bodge said. 

With demand for rental cars so high, scammers see an opportunity, according to Joy McGill with AARP.

“They are using the internet, utilizing call centers, setting up 1-800 customer service line numbers to create the viewpoint they are reputable car rental companies,” McGill said. If the price sounds too good to be true, if you run into any high-pressure sales tactics, or you are asked to pay in gift cards, chances are it's a scam. 

Jim Temmer, with the Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin, says summer rentals are also in high demand, and getting one over social media carries risk.

“If you go on something like Craigslist or you find a private rental off of any kind of social media, sometimes they took those pictures from real estate sites,” Temmer said. 

Bodge says finding a legit summer rental on Airbnb or VRBO is going to be a challenge, widening your search area might bring better results.

“If you are looking to rent right near Disneyworld or right near the Grand Canyon, you are going to have trouble with inventory,” she said. “If you are open to staying a little farther away, maybe 45 minutes to an hour, you will have much better luck with inventory.”

Bodge says one of the keys to enjoying a busy tourist season is staying flexible, leaving that extra day or two to deal with flight cancellations or other shortages. And Bodge thinks travel insurance, especially this summer, is a good decision. Just know what it covers and what it doesn’t.

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