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03/29/2022

Study: 70% of Americans Plan to Travel in 2022

COVID-19 precautions are important to most travelers as Americans plan vacations this year, according to a NerdWallet study.
Anna Wolfe
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The majority of Americans -- 70% -- are planning leisure travel in the next 12 months. While many Americans are making travel plans for 2022, the COVID-19 pandemic still impacts their travel decisions, according to NerdWallet’s annual Travel Study.

Confidence in hotel safety is up, according to HT's 2021 Customer Engagement Technology StudyHT attributes this increase in confidence to hotels’ efforts to mitigate COVID risks and to clear communication of procedures and protocols.

The NerdWallet Travel Study, which includes a survey conducted online by The Harris Poll of  2,000 U.S. adults, found that younger generations of Americans are planning to travel more than older generations.

Generational Differences

More than half of Generation Z (60% - ages 18-25) and millennials (58% - ages 26-41) are planning more than one leisure trip in the next 12 months, compared to 41% of Generation X members (ages 42-57) and 40% of baby boomers (ages 58-76).

Regardless of their travel plans, 62% of Americans say they would feel more comfortable traveling if certain COVID-19 precautions take place. However, comfort levels vary: 15% of Americans say that nothing would make them feel more comfortable traveling right now, while 23% say they already feel comfortable traveling.

More than half of Americans (56%) say the way they travel has changed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of those who have changed the way they travel, nearly a third (32%) say they only travel to destinations that are low-risk for COVID-19, while 28% say they stopped going on international trips and only travel domestically.

Additional Insights

  • Many Americans want to take multiple trips: Americans are planning to take two trips, on average, requiring a flight or hotel stay in the next 12 months.
  • Some Americans still aren’t traveling: About half of Americans who don’t plan on traveling for leisure in the next 12 months (51%) say they aren’t doing so for a COVID-related reason, including concerns over COVID variants (37%) or case rates at their desired destination (19%).
  • Stockpiling points and miles: More than three-quarters of Americans who have a travel rewards credit card (77%) are saving their points and miles. About 23% of travel credit card holders say they are doing so because they don’t feel safe traveling yet, and a similar portion (23%) are saving their points/miles for a luxury or special occasion trip.
  • COVID-19 exposures and positive test results impacted travel plans in 2021: More than 2 in 5 Americans who had travel plans in 2021 (43%) say that their travel plans were impacted because they or someone in their household tested positive for or were possibly exposed to COVID-19. Roughly 1 in 4 who had travel plans in 2021 (24%) say they canceled their trip as a result, and a similar proportion (25%) paid with rewards, cash, or credit to extend their trip in order to quarantine.

The full study, including downloadable charts, can be found here: https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/travel/majority-of-americans-plan-travel

NerdWallet, Inc. is a website and app that provides consumers and small businesses with  financial guidance.