What new travel habits have Americans formed amid COVID-19?

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Laurie Baratti TravelPulse (TNS)

Data taken from a new Momentive (formerly SurveyMonkey) survey has revealed some intriguing insights into how the American public is altering its approach to travel amid COVID-19 and highlights some trends that the industry should take into account while riding out the ongoing pandemic.

Among the study’s key findings was that more than half (51%) of vaccinated U.S. adults have booked travel within the last 18 months. Also, the number of vacation bookings has fallen slightly in recent months, with 38% of those who’d booked travel in the past year-and-a-half having done so one to three months ago, compared with 29% who’d done so within the past month.

The portion of the adult U.S. population that’s now fully vaccinated is 55.9%, according to the Reuters Vaccine Tracker tool, while 64.9% have received at least one dose of an approved vaccine protocol. Those who got the jab felt that had effectively reopened to them.


— Sixty-two percent of all those surveyed said they’re “more concerned” about traveling in today’s climate because of the delta variant’s prominence.

— More than half (51%) of those who are vaccinated said they’d booked their travel within the past year-and-a-half, compared to only 39% of unvaccinated Americans who booked during the same period.

— Unvaccinated persons are nearly twice as likely as immunized individuals (40% vs. 24%) to say that COVID-19 hasn’t substantially changed their travel habits.

— A larger portion of vaccinated respondents (71%) said they’re more concerned about traveling now, due to the delta variant, than the uninoculated, only 46% said the same. That’s a 25% difference measured between the two groups.

Pandemic-prompted travel tendencies

Just how has the whole pandemic experience shifted people’s personal habits when it comes to travel? That’s another question that Momentive’s survey sought to answer.

— Seventy-one percent of respondents report having formed some sort of new travel-related habit amid the COVID-19 pandemic and some of them say they’ll be making those practices permanent.

— 35% plan to spend less money on their vacations

— 28% plan to travel more locally

— 20% will only be taking drive-to vacations

— Fifty-three percent said the pandemic made them realize that they can just enjoy vacationing locally or staying home altogether.

— 34% of overall respondents said they now travel more locally because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

— Among those who have not booked any travel amid the pandemic, 39% said they want to make a habit of traveling locally in the future.

Current conditions

— One to three months ago, 72% of Americans were booking stays at hotels and vacation rentals, but that number has dropped to 61% made within the past month.

— Likewise, rental car reservations have decreased from a rate of 26% made between one and three months ago to only 20% made within the past month.

— Cruising is still being seen as the riskiest form of travel. Fifty-one percent of respondents ranked it among the top two travel activities associated with COVID-19 risk, followed by air travel (39%) and public transportation (38%). Road trips are still being perceived as the least risky mode of transportation, with 21% of survey participants selecting them as their first or second choice.

Travel trend trajectory

The survey findings suggest that nearly half (46%) of all U.S. adults have booked travel or accommodations during the course of the pandemic, with two-thirds (66%) of those bookings having been made within the past three months.

— Travelers between the ages of 18 and 34 are the most likely (58%) to have booked travel amid the pandemic, as opposed to people over the age of 65, who emerged as the least likely (27%) to have booked any travel or accommodations.

— Among respondents who’ve made travel reservations during the pandemic era, the peak time for bookings was one to three months ago (38%), but less so over the past month (29%). Only 18% had booked their travel between four and six months ago, while 16% made their reservations more than six months ago.

— Out of all age brackets, Millennials made up the greatest portion (35%) of those who’d booked their travel less than a month ago.


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