RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — When it comes to traveling, Will Shehan said he’s already looking ahead.
“I know my wife and I are going to several places this summer, weddings, vacations…,” said Shehan of Greenville who just returned to RDU after a bachelor party in Florida. “I’ve been doing a lot of travel for work and pleasure lately. I think I’ve had two delays and have probably flown about 20 times since the start of the year.”
RDU staff said Shehan is among several fliers who they’ve seen recently travel through the airport. Staff said they had more than 1.1 million people fly through RDU in March — more than a 20 percent increase over the same time last year.
RDU President and CEO, Michael Landguth, said spring break travel not only brought a boost, but he anticipates an even busier summer season.
Landguth said the airport recently added 38 nonstop flights and service to 20 new destinations in 2023.
“You’re always going to have that summer uptick, right?” said Shehan.
Stacy Gray, a Raleigh travel agent with Adjust to the Good Life Travel, said she is definitely noticing an uptick when it comes to people traveling.
“In the last six months, I would say that the amount of people or the amount of trips that we’ve been booking as travel agents has increased by over 50 percent,” said Gray, who has been in the business for 10 years.
Gray said she’s noticed more people booking international trips to places like Greece, Italy, London and Portugal.
“We’ve seen a huge uptick in European travel,” Gray said.
The travel agent believes more families saved money while traveling less during the pandemic and believes people are anxious to explore.
“The importance of booking with a travel agent is immeasurable now than it was before… We’re your best advocate in helping you navigate when a problem does occur.”
Gray said she often tells her clients to plan as early as possible and said you’ll find the best rates by booking 6 to 9 months ahead of your trip.
“They have some last-minute deals that you can find for travel around the holidays, but you’re going to be paying more money if you book last minute.”
Booking your flight isn’t the only thing you should be planning early, but Gray also said you’ll want to book parking in advance as parking lots fill quickly. She also said to arrive at the airport early on the day you plan to travel — three hours early if you’re flying internationally.
“The best advice that I can give people as a travel agent, even If you didn’t purchase travel protection in the past, make sure you purchase travel protection,” said Gray. “It’s not only for trip cancellation, or to protect the money that you paid for the trip, but it’s also to cover if you have a delay or medical emergency.”
Lastly, Gray recommends planning time in the beginning and the end of your trip to be flexible if there are any unexpected delays or changes to your flight.