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Summer travel heating up as COVID restrictions ease across the country

High summer travel demand can create challenges for families as many hotels and resorts are still limiting capacity.

ALABAMA, USA — With COVID-19 vaccines now widely available, summer travel this year is a no-brainer for many families in North Alabama, and people are already dusting off their suitcases.

AAA Alabama PR & Marketing Director Clay Ingram said, "That pent up demand is really starting to come to the surface here really just this week more than any other time, and so we're booking a lot of travel this year."

Because many hotels and resorts are still limiting capacity, this is not a summer you're going to want to wait to book.

"Things are filling up very very quickly," said Ingram. "If you are planning to go somewhere this year, you need to plan as far in advance as possible or you may not get to go where you want to go when you want to go."

RELATED: From computers to cars, the global computer chip shortage affects many industries

Right now, there are far fewer rental cars available than normal. If you're planning to rent a car for your trip this summer, go ahead and do that as soon as possible to make sure you get one and to save a few bucks.

"During the pandemic, a lot of the rental car companies, the demand was so low that they sold off big chunks of their fleet with plans to buy new cars this year," said Ingram. "That's what they're trying to do, but there is a shortage of computer chips that they need in the production of new vehicles and so those new vehicles are not being produced at the rate that they normally are."

RELATED: Alabama gas prices remain high one week after Colonial Pipeline restarts

With gas prices still high due to the Colonial Pipeline shut down this month, it's a good idea to budget a little more for gas. You can shop around for the best gas prices on the AAA Club app.

"It finds all the gas stations in your general vicinity no matter where you are in the country," said Ingram. "And it will show you all the prices so that you can find the stations with the cheapest gas."

Even if you are fully vaccinated, don't forget to pack your face masks. They are still required in many places.

WATCH: Gas prices remain high in Alabama after pipeline hack

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