As COVID-19 vaccines roll out, signaling the return to pre-pandemic life is on the horizon, many Americans are making big travel plans, according to new survey data from Expedia Group.
More than 2 out 5 people said they’re ready to take more trips in 2021 compared with 2020, and they’re prepared to spend an average of roughly $3,500, the survey of 2,200 Americans conducted in December found.
“People have really been saving up for travel since the beginning of the pandemic,” Anni Murphy, Expedia corporate communications manager, told Yahoo Money, referencing canceled weddings, reunions, and untapped loyalty points or airline miles. “For those who can travel who do have that opportunity and who haven't had employment disrupted, those are the folks who are really looking to splurge more on travel and kind of reward themselves.”
The optimism can be pinpointed to the vaccine — with 42% of respondents saying the vaccine news made them hopeful about travel or prompted them to book a trip.
Travelers plan to spend an average of $3,444, while millennials are ready to drop more — $5,462 on each trip. Many Americans intend on getting away for longer, with 1 in 3 travelers planning a trip that lasts a week or longer.
“People are planning to travel more this year than they did even pre-pandemic,” Murphy said, “which is a very encouraging insight and a good signal for travel recovery.”
Considering Cancun and London rank among the top destinations where Americans have begun booking trips, according to the survey, maintaining global health is a shared priority for passengers and countries, Murphy said.
Industry leaders and global health organizations have been figuring out how to best prevent another global pandemic or another COVID-19 outbreak by ensuring passengers have a requisite COVID-19 test or vaccination for entry.
Global immunization cards predate the pandemic, but different groups like The International Air Transport Association (IATA) have been developing a digital Covid Travel Pass that the BBC reported will be available “over the next few weeks.”
Expedia Group is having conversations with technology companies and other decision-makers about how its platforms can integrate with the changing policies, but no decisions have been made yet.
“There hasn't really been consolidation around what the approach will be or consensus reached on how this will appear uniform,” said Murphy, estimating more clarity will come this spring or summer once a greater percentage of the population has been vaccinated. “At this point, the pandemic has shown us more than anything else that we can't predict what the future is going to hold, so we have to adapt and that's the best that we can do.”