After more than a year and a half of pandemic, the holiday travel season is off to a good start with 3 in 10 of all trips Americans plan to take for Thanksgiving.
During the holiday travel season, two-thirds of travelers will fly and / or stay in paid accommodation. More than half (58%) of travelers say they expect spend about the same on travel as they did in 2019, and 1 in 5 will spend much more, driven by higher income households.
Travelers continue to be concerned about COVID-19 and adopt mitigation measures, saying they’re more likely to book a flight if the mask (64%) or vaccinations (58%) are required.
Workplace flexibility gives vacation travel a boost, stimulating 75% of travelers who plan to work during their trips to add extra days due to the ability to work abroad.
Why it matters
The holidays are a time to connect with family and friends, and this year a return to travel will rekindle the minds of many. According to Deloitte’s inaugural report, “2021 Deloitte Holiday Travel Survey,” Americans plan to take to the highways and skies, along with hotels and private rentals, to rekindle holiday traditions, but health and financial concerns weigh heavily. always on their minds. The report is based on a survey of 6,512 Americans in the field from September 9 to 23, and of these, 2,759 qualified as travelers, and a smaller subset of 1,501 travelers indicated that ‘they would stay in paid accommodation during the holiday season.
Travelers plan their getaways wisely
The survey reveals many reasons to hope for a strong rebound in leisure travel, but due to lingering health and financial concerns, some consumers are planning to celebrate the holidays at home. For those who do not travel, concerns about the health of loved ones and waiting for the pandemic to end are the main reasons to stay at home, surpassing financial concerns.
The holiday travel season is off to a strong start with 3 in 10 of all the trips Americans plan to take around Thanksgiving. Overall, 42% of Americans plan to travel between Thanksgiving and mid-January, making an average of two trips during the season.
Older Americans are more cautious about the season: 36% of those over 55 plan to travel, compared to 45% of those 18 to 34. Those 55 and over are also less likely to participate in activities and travel experiences. For example, 13% will attend a paid or public event, compared to 35% of 18 to 34 year olds, and 27% will visit a major attraction, compared to 53% of 18 to 34 year olds.
About twice as many travelers plan to travel by car (70%) than to fly (37%), citing pleasure (38%) and convenience (28%) as the main reasons, ahead of health (12% ).
More than a third of holidaymakers (37%) will take a flight during the holidays. Domestic travelers avoid stopovers; only 6% plan to take a domestic flight requiring a connection. Almost 1 in 3 of those who fly plan to take an international flight.
While 60% will take trips involving a stay with friends or family, slightly less (54%) will stay in a hotel or private rental. Almost a quarter plan to stay both in paid accommodation and with friends and relatives throughout the season.
The pandemic continues to hit new private rental travelers: 43% of those who stay on vacation rentals have tried this type of accommodation for the first time during the pandemic. Three in four new private renters plan to continue using rentals for at least half of their trips in the future.
The income divide widens in the travel industry
The forked spending on leisure travel makes the experience joyful for some, and bah-humbug for many others. Most travelers say they expect to spend about as much on travel as they did in 2019, and 1 in 5 will spend significantly more. However, a greater proportion of low-income households will spend much less and are almost three times more likely to cite financial reasons for staying at home.
High-income Americans are almost twice as likely to travel during the holiday season as low-income Americans (53% vs. 32%).
Spending intentions also vary considerably. Compared with 2019, 26% of low-income travelers plan to spend less on their vacation trips, compared to 30% of high-income travelers who plan to spend significantly more. About half (48%) of high-income travelers will spend more than $ 5,000 on their longest trip, while half (50%) of low-income travelers will spend less than $ 1,000.
While 43% of travelers will take a trip during the holiday season, 1 in 3 high-income travelers will travel three or more times, compared to 1 in 5 low- and middle-income travelers who travel the same frequency.
In addition, high-income travelers are more likely to stay in paid accommodation (63% vs. 43% for low-income travelers) and almost twice as likely to fly (48% vs. 26% for low-income travelers). low-income travelers).
The frequency of travelers driving their own car on vacation trips is almost equal across all income levels (56% for low-income travelers, 58% for middle-income travelers, and 55% for high-income travelers) .
Travelers adhere to COVID-19 requirements
Persistent health issues continue to impact when and how Americans travel for the holiday season. When choosing a destination, travelers take into account their vaccination status, local COVID-19 restrictions and their ability to avoid crowds.
Most travelers adopt measures to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19. Almost two-thirds (64%) are more likely to book a flight if the mask is required, and 58% say the same for proof of vaccination.
Two-thirds of high-income travelers say vaccine requirements make them more likely to fly. However, 16% of travelers say that a vaccine requirement would make them less likely to fly; 10% say the same for masking.
The vaccination status of travel party members and the destination’s COVID-19 restrictions are the two main factors in determining where to travel this season.
With many trips boosted by visits to friends and family, 42% will be heading to cities for the holidays. Beaches (22%) and the great outdoors (16%) are other top travel destinations that offer the opportunity to relax and avoid the crowds.
Travelers under 55 are 4.5 times more likely to travel with children, and children’s immunization status will affect their vacation plans. One in ten Americans under 55 cited their unvaccinated children as a reason for staying home, and one in seven cited as a reason not to stay in paid accommodation.
The gift of remote work boosts vacation travel
Continuous workplace flexibility and remote working continue to be a boon to the travel industry, with active travelers taking more trips, increasing their budgets and extending their stays.
- While most will disconnect completely, 4 in 10 travelers will be working for at least part of their trip this holiday season.
- Working vacationers take twice as many trips this holiday season as those who plan to disconnect during their getaways.
- Three-quarters of travelers (75%) who plan to work during their trip thus add at least one day to their stay. And, more than half (57%) will add three or more days to their longest pleasure trip because they have the option of working remotely.
- Working holidaymakers are more than twice as likely to increase their leisure travel budget compared to 2019. Business work-from-home policies were cited as a key factor in increasing travel budgets.