Vacation bookings on the rise as COVID-19 vaccinations increase, experts say

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- As more people get vaccinated, many are rushing to get back to normal and are looking to book that summer vacation.

Denise Coubarous Payne, owner and manager of CoubaTravel, a travel agency in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, said her clients are looking to travel to all destinations.

"I have a couple young people who say they're ready to travel," said Coubarous Payne. "There was one young lady who wants to go to Puerto Rico. I have someone else who wants to go to South Carolina."

Josh Bush, CEO of Avenue Two Travel in Bryn Mawr, said bookings have been steadily increasing due to people receiving their second vaccine dose or receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

SEE ALSO: Fully vaccinated people can travel again, says new CDC guidance
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With COVID vaccinations rising, the CDC issued new guidance for fully vaccinated Americans, saying it is considered safe to travel but cautioning restraint as cases rise.

"The challenge now is not 'can they travel,' but 'where can they go?'" said Bush. "Destinations accepting travelers with negative COVID tests or completed vaccinations are still limited with much of the world shut down."

Many travelers arrived in Philadelphia Sunday afternoon returning from their first vacation since the pandemic hit. Chris Connelly just came back from Colorado.

"We just needed to get away," said Connelly of Haddon Heights. "After a year of just really being stuck inside, the opportunity to go away and go to a place where it's a lot of outside activities was really appealing."

And the Schmid family said they were comfortable getting on a plane after getting fully vaccinated.

"I just feel safer," said Olga Schmid of Burlington Township. "I still wear my mask. I still use hand sanitizer. We still wipe down our groceries but I just feel it's an extra layer of safety for us."

The CDC said after a person gets fully vaccinated, if you travel domestically, you don't need to get a COVID-19 test or self-quarantine. But if you travel internationally, your destination may require you to show a negative test result.

Joshua Bush, CEO of Avenue Two Travel Agency in Villanova, said that the CDC announcement has led to an uptick in bookings.

"It was a slow crawl back to travel. (The phones are) definitely ringing off the hook now," said Bush. "So 2019 and early 2020 were our best years and months ever and we're now exceeding that, as far as the sales requests we're getting."

But in Pennsylvania, COVID-19 cases are on the rise, with more than 900,000 positive coronavirus cases.

Temple Health Family Medicine physician Dr. Delana Wardlaw warns that even if someone has been vaccinated, it doesn't make them immune to COVID-19.

"The purpose of vaccination is to prevent severe disease and to prevent severe complications and death so you can still potentially contract coronavirus even if you're fully vaccinated. You could potentially still have a milder case," said Dr. Wardlaw.

Health officials are warning everyone to stay the course and continue taking precautions like washing hands, social distancing and wearing a mask.

READ MORE: If you've been fully vaccinated, the CDC shares this guidance.

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