61% of Americans plan trips to visit family, friends, as some states begin to reopen

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As travel picks up, Americans plan to visit loved ones first, and many are already researching travel destinations.

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In times of crisis, connecting with loved ones is more important than ever, but sadly, during the coronavirus pandemic, spending time with family and friends is not possible for many people. It’s no surprise that Americans are eager to visit family and friends once it’s safer to travel.

When ValuePenguin commissioned an online survey of more than 1,200 Americans, they found that 61% of people surveyed will plan their first trip once travel restrictions are lifted to visit family and friends. Vacation planning is also picking up, with 17% already looking for potential destinations. Let’s take a closer look at how survey respondents plan their next trips despite the uncertain travel climate we are currently experiencing and how travelers can get their money’s worth with travel credit cards, points and miles and travel insurance.

Main conclusions

  • The first upcoming trips will revolve around family and friends: 47% of Americans said the first trip they would take when travel restrictions are lifted will be to visit family. Visiting friends came in second with 14%.
  • Florida (13%), California (12%) and New York (8%) will be the first states respondents visit as travel restrictions are lifted. Other popular destinations include Texas (5%) and New Jersey (4%).
  • Many consumers have already started researching their next vacation, primarily looking for potential destinations (17%), flight routes (14%) and hotels (10%). Very few started looking for restaurants or entertainment options.
  • On average, Americans plan to spend $ 737 on their next trip. Generation X will spend more than other age groups, and parents of children under the age of 18 expect to spend more than $ 1,000.
  • Only 23% plan to purchase travel insurance on their next trip. Men were more than twice as likely as women to say they would buy some form of travel protection.
  • 1 in 5 consumers will spend part of their economic impact assessment on their trips. That number reaches over a third of Gen X and around a quarter of Gen Y.

Consumers eager to visit family and friends, many of whom are looking for their next vacation

After a forced separation, many Americans are ready to spend quality time with their loved ones. Almost half of those polled said the first trip they planned to take after travel restrictions were lifted would be to visit family. The second priority for travel seems to be visiting friends (14%).

When it comes time to hit the road, consumers most often plan to visit Florida (13%), California (12%) and New York (8%). Two other popular destinations include the larger states of Texas (5%) and New Jersey (4%).

Top 10 U.S. states to visit once travel restrictions are lifted

Some travelers are already researching their future vacation options. 17% have already started studying potential destinations and 14% are even studying their flight options.

Pandemic will not affect future vacation spending for most travelers

When it comes to future vacation spending, plans and budgets are betting. While the majority of Americans don’t expect the coronavirus pandemic to affect their future vacation spending, not everyone is in the same boat. 19% said they plan to spend less due to the financial impacts of the virus, but a lucky 15% expect to spend more money on travel in the future because they haven’t been able to travel recently.

How the coronavirus pandemic impacted Americans' spending habits

On average, $ 737 is the amount Americans plan to spend on their first trip. Men in particular plan to spend more than women, and Gen Xers plan to spend the most money on travel. In order to finance these trips, 1 in 5 consumers will spend part of their economic impact assessment.

Brett Holzhauer, travel rewards expert at ValuePenguin, was not shocked to hear that so many consumers will not allow the COVID-19 crisis to affect their travel budgets, “We live in a fast paced society. so fast that when people’s lives get interrupted, we don’t take it very lightly, let’s put it that way. We love the convenience. We love it now. “

About 1 in 4 people will cash in reward points or miles to fund their next vacation

Whether or not your budget has been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, it can be very interesting to use award points or miles pay for a relaxing getaway. It appears that around 26% of consumers will use their reward points or miles to fund their next vacation. Men plan to use more points than women to fund upcoming vacations, and Gen X plans to do so more than Millennials.

Cashing in travel rewards can be a smart way to save on a trip, especially since some travel vendors like Airlines companies and hotels are extending the lifespan of their points and rankings due to the pandemic. Some hotels are extending 2020 elite status beyond the end of this year. Hilton, for example, is extending 2020 elite status until March 31, 2022.

Despite the fact that your preferred rewards program may be very accommodating right now, Holzhauer cautioned against planning your trip around specific vendors. “Don’t be brand loyal. I think that’s the biggest mistake travelers make.”

He noted that many travelers stick to their favorite travel brands, especially hotels, but that it’s worth working with whoever offers the best deals and rewards. “Not being brand loyal will help travelers a lot, which will allow these brands to continue to fight for your business and improve the travel experience,” said Holzhauer.

Most consumers won’t buy travel insurance

Many travelers have seen their trips unexpectedly canceled due to COVID-19 travel restrictions in recent months. However, despite the financial losses and inconvenience, many consumers do not plan to insure their future trips. Only 23% of consumers intend to purchase travel insurance for their next trip. Once again, men and Gen X are leading the way and planning to buy the most travel insurance.

Percentage of Americans plan to purchase travel insurance on their next trip

Why aren’t travelers more keen to insure their future trips after the recent disaster of canceled flights and border closures? Holzhauer suspects this trend comes down to cost. He thinks that unless you’re traveling first class, travel usually doesn’t cost that much. Insuring a trip (especially a quick weekend) is similar to insuring an old car that is in its final stages. “I wouldn’t blame travelers for not purchasing travel insurance. It’s very confusing, it’s very intimidating and the overall chances of something going wrong during your trip are pretty low,” he said. declared.

Instead, Holzhauer recommends taking advantage of the benefits associated with travel credit cards. “I think a lot of consumers forget that travel credit cards come with free travel insurance simply by using their card. So, in order for consumers to have more protection and possibly get more rewards for their travel and daily purchases, this free coverage wouldn’t hurt in any way, ”noted Holzhauer.

What to know about travel amid the coronavirus pandemic

When it comes time to travel, you may have a different experience than you have had in the past. If you are flying, Holzhauer suggests checking the website for your specific airport, as well as the TSA website, before heading to the airport to make sure you have an idea of ​​what the airport will look like. ‘experience. Safety and health security measures will likely vary by airport. “The experience will be different. Airports will change the number of human interactions,” which may include changes like checking in your own bag, Holzhauer noted.

When it comes to health issues, Holzhauer recommends consulting your doctor or medical expert about your travel risks if you have any concerns, especially if you are traveling by plane or public transport. That being said, if you think it’s safe to travel, Holzhauer predicts that there could be plenty of opportunities to do so and close deals in the future. “There are going to be a ton of opportunities in terms of airlines offering promotions, hotels offering promotions, so now is the time to strike if you feel safe from a health perspective and you want to keep traveling, ”Holzhauer said.

While there are risks associated with travel right now, it’s understandable that so many Americans are yearning to start traveling again. Holzhauer captured the sentiment perfectly: “Traveling is always a risk, but the reward is very likely to be on the other side of that risk.”

Methodology

ValuePenguin commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,249 Americans, with the sample base proportioned to represent the overall population. The survey was conducted from April 22 to 24, 2020.

We have defined the generations as the following ages in 2020:

  • Generation Z is between 18 and 23 years old

  • Millennials are between 24 and 39 years old

  • Generation X is between 40 and 54 years old

  • Baby boomers are between 55 and 74 years old

  • The silent generation is 75 and over


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