For the 50+ Traveler

The nation is still in the grips of the coronavirus pandemic, but the U.S. Travel Association believes it is the perfect time to think about your next vacation.

The USTA has declared Tuesday National Plan for Vacation Day, a day set aside for Americans to chart out their days off for the calendar year.

“After the very real peril and hardship that too many have endured due to the pandemic, National Plan for Vacation Day is the perfect opportunity to look ahead to a future travel experience when the time is right for you to travel once again,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the USTA.

The day is not a new concept. Travel associations have traditionally used the last Tuesday of January to encourage vacation planning. Studies have shown American workers do a poor job of using all of their paid time off each year, and the USTA wants them to start thinking ahead about vacations.

That planning takes on extra meaning in 2021 after so many people have been at home for most of the past year.

According to the USTA, simply planning a vacation can provide a huge psychological boost. And given the difficult times for the travel industry, there are fantastic deals being offered to those thinking about a future vacation.

“As vaccines become more widely available and Americans’ pent-up demand for travel creates a booking surge, those offers are likely going to become harder to find,” the USTA said in a release.

A similar message is being delivered by a coalition of travel industry businesses. Let’s Go There includes 75 companies, ranging from airlines to hotel chains to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Bureau and beyond.

“Our message is straightforward,” the group said. “When the time is right for you to travel again, we will be ready to safely welcome you back.”

Americans are anxiously waiting for the pandemic to improve, with travel among the most anticipated aspects of 2021, according to data from Destination Analysts, a marketing firm that focuses on the travel industry.

Two-thirds of Americans say they miss traveling very much, Destination Analysts reported in its weekly survey of travel conditions. More than 22 percent plan to travel more than normal in 2021, while 51 percent will return to pre-Covid levels of travel, the survey said.

“In the last week alone, 38.7 percent day-dreamt about leisure travel, 30.3 percent talked about travel with friends or relatives, and 27 percent researched travel ideas online,” the report said.

While encouraging Americans to look ahead to traveling again, Dow emphasized that safety must come first.

“COVID-19 is still a very present challenge,” he said. “When people choose to travel, they must continue to embrace the health and safety practices that can keep themselves and their fellow travelers safe.”

If you‘re looking to plan for a vacation, here are some resources to get you started: