MONTEREY, Calif. (KION) The pandemic has put the travel industry on hold for more than a year.
As people get vaccinated, and with extra money from President Biden's stimulus plan, more people are venturing out of their homes once again.
At the Monterey Regional Airport, travel has picked back up to just about 50% of normal air traffic. That's compared to a 95% drop this time last year.
On Thursday, the TSA screened more than 1.5 million passengers across the country, compared to just 154,000 people a year ago. But in 2019, almost 2.5 million people were screened at checkpoints.
"Today was actually one of our busier days since the pandemic. We had about 900 people get on aircrafts. So about 1,800 people in and out. That’s a pretty good number, but that’s not close to where we should be," said Monterey Regional Airport Executive Director Michael La Pier.
As lockdowns ease, consumers are expected to spend nearly $2 trillion. That's good news for Monterey County's second largest industry. Expanded tax credits, like the Child Tax Credit, and federal stimulus payments are bringing an influx of money back into people's pockets.
Financial center manager Anna Esparza says people are putting those stimulus payments to good use.
“We’re seeing clients using it for paying down debt, and for big purchases, but we’re also seeing clients use it for vacationing. We’re really excited about that because it gives us some sense of normalcy when it comes to banking and spending," said Esparza.
Esparza recommends clients to pay off their debts before making big purchases, but if they're looking to take a vacation and save:
“When you’re planning for travel and you’re booking tickets, having a credit card that has no fees internationally, and having a credit card that’s going to give you cash back for your flight tickets and your hotel stay, it’s a great idea," Esparza said.
Several countries are still requiring travelers to have a negative test before landing, so it's always recommended to check all restrictions before taking off.
You'll also want to bring a face mask. Friday, the TSA extended its mask requirement on flights until September 13, 2021.
CENTRAL COAST, Calif. (KION-TV) -- Financial experts say those who are looking to take advantage of the large amount of businesses able to reopen following lengthy pandemic-related closures should tread lightly.
The new child tax credit and the variety of stimulus checks that have come from lawmakers are putting more money directly in people's pockets.
KION's Lisa Principi will have a report at 10 and 11 p.m. tonight on what financial advisers want you to keep in mind as you plan on traveling while the pandemic continues to wind down.