Stats: Finances Top Safety as Travelers’ Main Concern in 2022

More Americans plan to travel this summer, even as financial concerns replace health concerns for the first time since pandemic began—that’s according to Deloitte’s new report, “Getting Back to Getaways: 2022 Deloitte Summer Travel Survey.”

Here are some of the key findings:

Summer Travel Makes a Comeback

While leisure travel appeared to be on the rebound last summer, the Delta and Omicron variants slowed its comeback. Now, with traveler confidence on the rise, summer 2022 travel will likely surpass both 2021 and pre-pandemic levels. That said, financial and health concerns will continue to impact where and how Americans travel.

In all, six in 10 Americans will travel this summer, an increase from last year when five in 10 Americans planned the same. Travelers will take an average of two trips this summer with most (83 percent) planning to stay in hotels and/or rentals. Half (51 percent) plan to fly, while slightly more plan to take road trips (57 percent). Only 7 percent plan to take a cruise. More than one-quarter (28 percent) of travelers plan to spend significantly more this summer over their 2019 travel budgets for marquee trips, due to higher prices as well as accumulated savings. Meanwhile, 15 percent plan to spend significantly less; half of those travelers cite financial concerns.

Spending time with family and friends is the top motivator for summer travel at 47 percent, up 13 percent from 2021. Beaches continue to lead all destinations (32 percent), followed by cities (29 percent) and the great outdoors (16 percent). That said, trip durations will shrink compared to 2021; for one-third of travelers (32 percent), the longest trip will last less than one week, up from 22 percent in 2021.

Travelers to Spread Their Spend

Travelers have a variety of options for their summer trips. As trust in the safety of lodging and air travel rises, they are willing to pay for comfort and space, signaling further optimism for travel providers. To note: Nearly half (46 percent) of Americans will travel and stay in paid lodging, up from 41 percent in 2021.

While hotels remain more popular (79 percent), private rental demand is strong (20 percent). More than one-third (34 percent) of summer rental travelers booked a private rental or plan to for the first time, up from 28 percent in 2021. Further, seven in 10 of these new rental guests expect to continue staying in rentals for at least half of their trips going forward. Additionally, younger travelers (18-34 years old) are almost twice as likely to stay in private lodging (26 percent) as travelers 55 and older (14 percent).

Safety perception for air travel is also at its highest since the pandemic began. More than half (54 percent) of Americans feel safe taking a flight this summer, compared to 31 percent in 2021. Nearly half (47 percent) of travelers will fly for their marquee trip, and 54 percent are willing to pay for a more comfortable flight experience, including first or business class (17 percent) or other upgrades (37 percent). One-quarter (27 percent) of air travelers will fly overseas, with Europe being the most popular destination (49 percent); followed by Mexico and the Caribbean (28 percent); Asia (8 percent); Central/South America (7 percent); the Middle East/Africa (6 percent); and Australia/Oceania (2 percent). Geopolitical developments, according to the survey, factor into travel decisions for six in 10 travelers.

With the rise in air travel, fewer Americans will hit the road this summer: 62 percent will drive for at least one part of their trip, down from 76 percent in 2021. Nearly half (48 percent) are driving shorter distances (four hours or fewer), up from 33 percent in 2021. Further, 8 in 10 of these trips will last for a week or less, which could contribute to the rise in shorter-distance road trips.

Health Concerns Decrease, Financial Worries Rise

COVID-19 transmission remains an important factor in travel decisions, although its influence is waning. In its place, financial concerns are high, with nearly half of those not traveling citing money as the reason why they will stay home. Specifically, finances (44 percent, up 13 percent from 2021) have replaced health as travelers’ main concern (33 percent, down 10 percent from 2021). Travelers with a household income under $50,000 are twice as likely to say they significantly cut travel budgets from 2019, compared to those at higher income levels.

Although still a consideration, health factors that play a role in destination selection are all down in influence compared to last year, including crowd avoidance (68 percent, down 7 percent), CDC guidelines (65 percent, down 9 percent), and social distancing norms (61 percent, down 13 percent). Travelers this year are also more likely to participate in activities involving sharing space with others, such as dining (up 6 percent) and visiting attractions (up 2 percent).

Summer Travel Soars Due to Workplace Flexibility

Work-from-home and location-flexible work arrangements are contributing to a new type of leisure traveler—“laptop luggers.” Those who plan to work at least partially when they travel this summer attribute at least one trip to the ability to work remotely. Further, laptop luggers tend to spend more, take longer trips and travel with larger groups.

Among laptop luggers, three in four say their longest trip will last one to three weeks. In addition, four in five are extending their trip due to the ability to work remotely, with one-third extending their trip by three to six days. Most laptop luggers are younger and wealthier: 18- to 34-year-olds are five times more likely to work on vacation, and those reporting income of more than $100,000 per year are twice as likely to do so. Four in 10 laptop luggers say their trip budget exceeds pre-pandemic levels, compared to 25 percent of disconnectors.

Laptop luggers will also travel in larger groups: 3 in 10 will travel with three to five people, often including children. They are twice as likely to stay at private rentals for the first time during the pandemic and are nearly one-and-a-half times as likely to continue using them in half or more future trips.

The report is based on a survey of 4,233 Americans fielded March 23-30, 2022. Among those, 2,536 qualified as travelers, and a smaller subset of 1,960 travelers said they would stay in paid lodging rather than only with family or friends.

Source: Deloitte

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