After a very challenging year for local travel agencies, there is finally hope that a sense of normalcy is returning.

“Travel has been tough the last year since COVID-19 started but things are starting to turn around,” said Larry Field who owns Everlasting Memories Vacations.

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NEWS 4 Buffalo tells us travel agents say people are more willing to book trips outside the area now that they have been vaccinated.

“They’re starting to feel more comfortable or they know that they’re going to be eligible probably within the next couple of months,” said AAA senior travel sales advisor Kevin Fairbanks-Bloom said. “They just need to give them something bright to look forward to.”

More popular destinations this year in the U.S. include Florida and Las Vegas followed internationally by Mexico and the Caribbean.

“Where can we go? Where is it safe to go? Where are we allowed to go? Those are the questions that we’re hearing,” he said.  "They’re ready to take a vacation. They want to get away. They’ve been cooped up for a long time,” Field said. “They’re not sure whether they want to or should take a vacation yet and they’re asking us those questions about safety and what are the procedures.”

While the trend appears encouraging and on the upswing officials from the Buffalo Niagara International Airport say air travel is still down about 80 percent from what would be described as normal for this time of the year.

Travelers should familiarize themselves and follow guidelines after traveling out of the state, including getting a COVID-19 test prior to coming back or quarantining for two weeks.

According to the Erie County Health Department, people who are fully vaccinated do not have to quarantine after traveling out of the state. Check the guidelines for specifics.

 

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