American Travelers Practice Cautious Optimism, Many Are Waiting to Book End-of-Year Trips — TripIt Blog

It’s holiday booking season. Or is he? Earlier this month, we asked more than 1,500 US-based travelers about their travel plans: Of those who plan to travel next year, 63% plan to do so in the next three months, indicating a busy holiday travel season ahead.

But when it comes to booking travel — for vacations and more — American travelers exercise cautious optimism. More than a quarter (26%) of travelers said they made plans to cancel or change them. A quarter (25%) said they are delaying plans due to the delta variable. Our data also indicates that many Americans are waiting to book vacation travel plans, with the majority of those who plan to travel to celebrate Thanksgiving, for example, only planning to book for one month.

Previous experience may lend to this behavior – more than a quarter (28%) of travelers said they canceled or changed their plans because of the delta variable. Of those who changed or canceled their plans, 27% lost money, and some lost as much as $5,000.

So is Delta’s type making Americans more wary about booking travel plans? What precautions do they take—and what makes them feel comfortable—when they travel? What other things do travelers think about before planning a trip? Take a look at the answers to these questions and more below.

A third of Americans book six months of vacations; Business trips 1 month ago

The three main reasons Americans plan to travel next year remained mostly consistent over the course of 2021. This time, 77% said they were planning a vacation, 60% were planning to visit family and friends, and 41% were planning a business trip.

Other reasons include winter holidays (27%), a special occasion (25%), a rescheduled flight (22%), and Thanksgiving (19%).

As for when Americans plan to book these trips:

  • Nearly a third (31%) of travelers planning a vacation will book six months (or more) in advance. More than a quarter (26%) plan to book three to six months.
  • Half (50%) of people who took a rescheduled (rebooked) trip six months in advance – or more.
  • In contrast to vacations and rescheduled trips, business trips are more likely to be booked as early as the travel date: 34% of those planning a business trip will book one month; 28% booked three weeks.
  • For upcoming holidays, 28% of those planning travel will book plans for Thanksgiving one month in advance; 20% of winter vacation travelers plan to book for one month as well.

Potential travelers wrestle with the delta effect

When we released survey data back in August, we saw that those who travel comfortably in current conditions increased. While there has remained a paramount need, the relative importance of airline safety measures has declined.

But the delta variant has changed what travelers need to feel comfortable while flying. Recent survey data shows that nearly half (47%) of travelers said in order to feel comfortable while flying, they would need proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test required for passengers. 42 percent of travelers would like to see airlines continue or increase their safety measures, such as mask requirements and COVID-19 testing mandates. In addition, more than a third (38%) of travelers said that asking for a vaccination or COVID-19 test for airline employees would make them feel comfortable flying. (Shortly after this survey was sent out, many US airlines began doing just that.)

Travel concerns looked a little different this time too – and we’re assuming the delta variant is to blame. Back in August, we saw the return of some familiar travel concerns: overcrowding and long queues were the biggest concern, meanwhile rowdy passengers and travel-related costs appeared in the top five.

Now, more than a third of travelers (37%) said their biggest concern is whether they might need to cancel or reschedule a flight due to COVID-19 restrictions, requirements or illness. Keeping up with travel restrictions, guidelines and requirements came second, with 35% of travelers expressing concern about it. Overcrowding and long queues dropped to number four on the list, but more than a quarter (27%) still say this is a major concern the next time they travel.

Travel Plans – Check! What now?

Keys, wallet, phone, passport, passport vaccine. The list of things you need to travel in the new normal – for most people – has been extended.

American travelers

According to our survey data, for those who have traveled in the past six months:

  • 60% carried their CDC COVID-19 vaccination card with them on a trip
  • 29% had a COVID-19 test for their trip
  • 15% used a vaccine passport app on their trip
  • Only 4% had to self-quarantine upon arrival or upon returning home
  • Only 1% of travelers had to reschedule or change their trip plans due to a positive COVID-19 test; Similarly, only 1% of respondents contracted or traveled with someone who contracted COVID-19 during the trip

However, 30% of people told us that none of the above applied to them.

Millennial travelers are twice as likely to consider the environmental impact of their trips

After a hard reset, many Americans are rearranging their priorities when it comes to travel. Whether it’s because of slower travel or an increased awareness of their carbon footprint, travelers are rethinking how they travel – and why. In fact, more than half (57%) of travelers said they consider political, environmental and social issues when they travel.

The most important issues or values ​​on the minds of travelers when planning a trip include the political environment or social unrest at their destination (43%), the ethics of travel to their destination, for example, equality in vaccinations/access or excess tourism (23%), and the impact on the local community at their destination (15%).

When we looked at the differences between generations, we found the following:

  • Millennials and younger (16%) are more likely to consider the impact of travel-related carbon emissions than Generation X (7%) or Baby Boomers and older (8%).
  • Millennials and younger (25%) are more likely to consider the impact on the community than Generation Xers (17%) or Baby Boomers and older (10%).
  • Generation Xers (9%) and Baby Boomers (11%) are more likely to consider potential threats based on their political views than Millennials and younger (4%).

Because of the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, Americans are taking a cautiously optimistic approach to planning — and booking — trips. While some book flexible travel plans that they know they may need to change or cancel, others hold your reservation until the last minute.

These behaviors are understandable. Some travelers lost their money on canceled travel plans; Others had to reschedule flights – then reschedule flights again.

However, our data shows that travelers insisted. They’ve done what it takes to travel, whether it’s carrying a CDC-issued vaccine ticket, getting tested for COVID-19 for their trip, or booking a spontaneous flight.

We appreciate that changing travel restrictions and requirements can sometimes be confusing and unpredictable. But with only 1% of travelers contracting (or traveling with someone who has contracted) COVID-19, we’re glad to see warnings paying off in keeping travelers safe.

Methodology: TripIt surveyed over 1,500 users in the US to understand their travel plans for the next year. The survey was conducted in late September to early October 2021. For the purposes of this research, TripIt defined the generations as follows: Millennials (1981-1996); Generation X (1965-1980); And born (1946-1964).