After a year stuck at home, 70% of US consumers have said they want to start traveling again, and more than 50% plan a vacation or two in the next six months, according to Discover’s annual travel survey. .
After a stressful and socially distant year, 66% of consumers are planning trips of between one and six days in length and report that their top reasons for wanting to take a vacation are:
- To relax, 37%
- Visiting family and friends, 18%
- Experience a change of scenery, 10%
Of those looking to spend time with family, boomers lead the charge, 28%, compared with 18% of Gen X, 12% of millennials and 9% of Gen Z. The survey found that the Gen Z seek adventure on the go, 21%, compared to 12% of millennials, 10% of Gen X and 7% of Boomers.
When surveyed in April, 42% of consumers said they already felt comfortable traveling, and 12% said they would feel comfortable traveling when vaccines were widely available to everyone in the US.
“It’s clear that consumers have a strong desire to travel again as we approach the summer months and the economic recovery continues,” said Jacob Ayoub, vice president of consumer insights and competition at Discover. “We know travel trends and consumer needs will continue to change, but it is important to note that at this time American consumers are considering the costs, flexibility and spread of COVID-19 while traveling.”
Health and safety are the most important thing for travelers
Eighty percent of consumers say that it is important to find travel accommodations with strict COVID-19 hygiene protocols, and it seems that this trend is not going to go away.
In the next six months, 74% of consumers reported that they will continue to prioritize the cleanliness rating of their accommodation when deciding where to stay. Consumers also said they are more likely to splurge on expensive accommodations and travel options if it means they have strict COVID-19 hygiene protocols, 50%, and consumers also say they are more likely to invest in priority travel passes for avoid crowds, 49%.
When it comes to wearing masks, nearly two in three consumers say they will continue to wear them while traveling, even after they are no longer needed. Of those who wear masks, 39% say they will continue to wear them in public spaces, such as a hotel or resort, and 36% say they will wear masks when in a transportation hub, such as an airport or bus station.
Consumers prefer profitable travel methods that allow greater control
When deciding where to vacation, consumers report the cost of their destination, 87%, and flexibility of cancellation policies, 86%, are the most important factors, outweighing the spread of COVID-19 variants, 80%, and the number of positives. COVID-19 cases, 80%, in a destination area.
Sixty-two percent of consumers say that they do not dare to take means of transport where they have to be close to others. More than half of American consumers plan to drive to their next destination, and only 39% report that they will fly. Most consumers report that they plan to take a road trip in the next six months, 29%, followed by a beach vacation, 21%.
For six in 10 respondents, these trips may be closer to home, as consumers say they are more likely to travel locally than to take long trips across the country.
Credit cards are the preferred payment method
Fifty-five percent of consumers cite credit cards as their preferred payment method during the holidays, an increase of 16 percentage points over the Discover 2019 travel survey .
Additionally, given the impact of the pandemic on travel and the need to avoid touching as many surfaces as possible, 56% of consumers say they will take advantage of contactless payments more frequently while traveling.