SAN FRANCISCO – March 29, 2022 – NerdWallet, Inc. (Nasdaq: NRDS), a website and app that provides consumers and small businesses with trustworthy financial guidance, found that 70% of Americans are planning leisure travel in the next 12 months. NerdWallet’s annual Travel Study, published today, found that while many Americans are making travel plans for 2022, the COVID-19 pandemic still impacts their travel decisions.
The report, which includes a survey conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of NerdWallet among over 2,000 U.S. adults, found that younger generations of Americans are planning to travel more than older generations. 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.
“Two years into the pandemic, consumers are more comfortable in their ability to make travel decisions that feel right for them, leading to skyrocketing demand for hotels, rental cars and airlines,” said Sara Rathner, a travel expert at NerdWallet. “Now more than ever, it’s important for travelers to build flexibility into their vacation plans and travel budgets. Those who feel comfortable traveling should plan to spend more time and money on their vacations this year as crowds of out-of-practice travelers learn to navigate pandemic-era travel staples like increased wait times, trip insurance, rapid tests and quarantine expenses.”
Additional findings from the study include:
- 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
This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of NerdWallet from Feb. 3-7, 2022, among 2,012 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact [email protected].