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Allianz Travel Pulse Survey Reveals 2020 Holiday Travel Trends

2020 Holiday Travel Trends
Allianz - 2020 Holiday Travel Trends

Americans are cutting back on holiday travel in 2020, but they’re eager to plan vacations in 2021.

That’s the upshot of Allianz Partners’ new Travel Pulse survey*, conducted in fall 2020, which asked customers about their travel plans over the holidays and beyond. Here are some of the 2021 travel trends the survey reveals.

What are Americans’ holiday travel plans?

More people are staying home this year. Fully 75% of people surveyed don’t plan to travel for the 2020 winter holidays. 16% say they will travel, while another 9% aren’t sure.

Of the U.S. travel insurance customers we surveyed:

  • 16% say that in the past five years, they’ve always traveled for the December holidays. This year, only 40% of this group will be traveling.
  • 15% travel for the holidays most of the time
  • 11% travel for the holidays about half the time
  • 27% sometimes travel for the holidays
  • 31% never travel for the holidays

Most of the people who do plan to travel will be visiting family (64%). About a third (34%) are taking a vacation in December 2020.

A majority of holiday travelers (59%) are flying to their destination, while 38% are driving. Just 2% are taking a cruise, and 1% are hopping on a train or bus.

When are Americans planning to travel next?

While many people remain uncertain about their plans, we’re seeing an upswing in people who are traveling now or traveling soon.

  • 13% are already traveling. Just 4% said the same in the spring.
  • 9% planned to travel in less than a month
  • 12% planned to travel within 1-3 months
  • 12% planned to travel within 4-6 months
  • 18% planned to travel within 7-12 months
  • 4% said they’d be traveling after 12 months
  • 32% said they weren’t sure when they’d travel next

Compared to the spring of 2020, more people are traveling now; however, a majority of people who are planning their next trip are waiting until 2021.

What will make people feel safe about traveling again?

Even before the exciting news about the coronavirus vaccines was released, 58% of travelers surveyed said a vaccine was the #1 thing that would make them feel safe enough to travel again. Here are travelers’ other answers to “What will make you feel safe enough to travel again?”:

  • 48%: Health officials announce that it’s safe to travel
  • 47%: Advanced sanitizing efforts at airlines, hotels, etc.
  • 45%: Travel insurance that covers medical emergencies while traveling
  • 41%: Social distancing measures implemented everywhere
  • 30%: Universal COVID-19 testing
  • 26%: No new COVID-19 cases at my destination

Where are Americans traveling now?

More than 100,000 people recently signed up for Royal Caribbean’s test sailings, without even knowing where they might go.1 Are you, like these travelers, desperate to go somewhere — anywhere at all?

Just over half of people surveyed are planning domestic trips. A growing number intend to visit Mexico or the Caribbean. Europe remains a popular choice, although only a few countries are open to American travelers and some, like the U.K., require a 14-day quarantine upon arrival.

  • 53% of travelers said their next trip would be within the continental U.S.
  • 20% plan to visit Hawaii, Mexico or the Caribbean
  • 17% plan to visit Europe

Why are people traveling?

If there’s one thing the nation can agree on, it’s this: We all need a relaxing, carefree getaway in 2021. 66% of people surveyed said their next trip would be a vacation, while 31% plan to visit family or friends. Just 5% said their next trip would be for business.

If you are intending to take a trip in 2020, consider this advice for holiday travel from experts at Johns Hopkins University:

  • Get tested for COVID-19 before you go, and quarantine while waiting for results.
  • Wear a mask while in transit, and bring backups so you can change masks every few hours.
  • Try to keep space between yourself and others.
  • Wipe down shared spaces on a plane, train or bus with sanitizing wipes.

Finally, don’t forget travel insurance! Having a trusted travel insurance plan gives you the peace of mind you need to travel confidently.

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*Methodology: This article examines results from an Allianz Travel survey of a random sample of 3,471 airline, online travel aggregator, B2C and retail customers who had purchased a policy for a past trip. The survey ran from 10/27/2020-11/9/2020, and asked several questions about when and how respondents will travel next. For consistency purposes, customers were provided with the following definition of travel: a trip to a destination that is more than 100 miles from your home and lasts for at least 2 nights.

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