Research: Rising costs not keeping travelers away

Inflation, rising gas prices and other world events seem to be no match for the enduring allure of a vacation. According to the Portrait of American Travelers research from MMGY Travel Intelligence, 65% of U.S. travelers intend to take a leisure trip in the next six months despite obstacles present in today’s travel environment.

Aggregating data collected from more than 4,500 respondents, the quarterly report examines the travel intentions and behaviors of U.S. adults.

“Even in the face of inflation and higher gas prices, most Americans are telling us they’re still eager to venture out this summer,” said Chris Davidson, EVP, MMGY Travel Intelligence. “Though we did observe some erosion in the travel intentions of Americans at the lower end of the income spectrum, spending intentions are up this quarter overall and COVID-19 has finally faded as a material barrier to travel.”

The rising cost of travel is now the most significant barrier to travel, eclipsing COVID-19 concerns for the first time. The survey concluded that gas prices will impact travel for nearly eight in 10 active leisure travelers. However, it’s not expected that Americans will cancel their trips—they’re just more likely to travel closer to home (48%), decrease their spend on entertainment/shopping (35%) or make meals instead of eating out (30%).

Other key findings from the report:

  • The perception of safety continues to improve domestically and internationally. According to the survey, the perceived safety of domestic travel is up seven points from one year ago while international travel is up 12 points year over year.
  • Interest and likelihood to take an international trip has increased, finally returning to pre-pandemic levels.
  • Younger travelers, travelers with children and travelers with incomes of more than $100,000 are the groups most interested in traveling internationally during the next two years, and Europe and the Caribbean are the most popular destinations of interest.