Whether we know it or not, and whether we like it or not, we’re taking shorter vacations.
The two-week beach getaway and holiday romp to Europe? Gone, poof. The four-day blitz to a neighboring city or last-minute long weekend at a friend’s cottage? That’s what’s winning out.
This trend, for which there is ample data to support, may not be a bad thing. Because we’re also taking trips more frequently — especially Gen X’ers and Millennials.
Here is a closer look at this shift in vacation behavior, some of the potential benefits, and why it’s causing more and more travelers to consider an annual travel insurance plan.
Money makes the world go ‘round. But it’s also the reason why fewer travelers are circling the globe, and why more are exploring America’s big backyard.
Specifically, Americans’ summer vacations decreased from 1.7 weeks to a planned 1.4 weeks. That’s a difference of about two days. The biggest reason cited for the decrease was a smaller travel budget, specifically a drop of about 20 percent.1 You can probably predict two other trends coincided with this: domestic travel and road trips are beating out globetrotting and air travel.
Like apple pie and Sunday football, this shift seems to be distinctly American. Not only does it flout Europeans’ travel habits, but when you look at the average of all trips — not simply summer soirées — it also fails to jive with our neighbors to the north. When you compare the travel habits of Americans to Canadians head to head, Americans take 6.7 days per trip to Canadians’ 8.7 days per trip. That said, Americans take a whopping two more trips each year than our neighbors.2
Of course, painting the entire U.S. population with such broad strokes isn’t really fair or accurate. So let’s dial in the analysis a bit. According to one study, 83 percent of those born in the late ‘70s to mid- ‘90s — a group comprising Gen X’ers and Millennials —prefer taking multiple short trips throughout the year to one big hulking vacation.3 That’s great, but what does it really mean?
There are arguments that can be made on both sides. Jetsetters who prefer long jaunts to short trips might cite the idea that it takes our minds and bodies a number of days to shake off work and actually find our relaxation sweet spot.
That said, Google and news inquiries lend more credence to American’s emerging behavior of taking more, shorter vacations as a good thing. One idea is that the memories we make on shorter vacations are easier to recall and enjoy. They’re not lost in the shuffle of 10 or 12 days of hazy memories. The other is that, on shorter trips, you’re less budget conscious, meaning you might not hold back on taking that pricey snorkeling trip or wine tour when you’re only there a few days.4
Other benefits to shorter, more frequent trips include the idea of simply seeing more places and having more flexibility of when you can travel.5 And who doesn’t love keeping a few vacation days stashed in their back pocket for a rainy day when you just need a quick and gratifying weekend getaway?
With shorter, more frequent vacations comes a few minor obstacles to navigate. For example, you’ll need to make more boarding appointments for your dog. Or additional arrangements for someone to get your mail. But purchasing travel insurance doesn’t have to get any harder, even with the additional trips, thanks to the annual travel insurance plan.
There is one more positive upshot that more frequent, shorter trips have brought with it: a greater number of Americans are traveling. With 66 percent of Americans planning to hit the road, it’s a statistically significant 5-point leap. More people escaping their homes and hometowns to see the world is a good thing.1
An annual travel insurance plan is exactly what it sounds like: A single, multi-trip policy providing coverage for a whole year. Allianz Global Assistance offers options ranging from the Annual Basic Plan, the most economical option, to the Annual Executive Plan, fit for the itinerant business travel lifestyle.6
If you plan on going on multiple trips in a year, or you’re just the spontaneous type who ends up going on last-minute adventures, it can be more convenient to keep track of all the key details for one policy vs. many. It can also be more efficient to purchase a plan one time vs. several plans piecemeal throughout the year.
But the biggest benefit is the cost savings. In fact, if you take just three trips in a year, going with an annual travel insurance plan is more cost-effective than buying three separate plans. That’s all it takes. Now consider that, on average, Americans are now taking more than four trips a year.2 And that’s just the average. If you’re taking five, six, 10 or more trips a year, then an annual travel insurance plan should be a no-brainer.
Americans aren’t just changing their travel behavior. They’re also already changing the behavior of the travel suppliers they patronize. Here is just one example: The Blue Walk, a European walking tour outfit, has already designed new tours that are shorter in duration. For example, one Greek walking tour has been cut down in length by a quarter.7
It will only be a matter of time before the travel industry more aggressively evolves to accommodate Americans’ travel behavior. And before the annual travel insurance plan is the default insurance plan for savvy, responsible travelers. Actually, that’s already happening. Are you taking advantage of an annual travel insurance plan?