Survey: 87% of Americans say sustainable travel is important

A new survey from The Vacationer shows that 225 million American adults (87.32%) say sustainable travel is either somewhat important or very important to them. Nearly 82% say they will make more sustainable (eco-friendly) decisions when planning travel, while more than 78% say they would pay more to lower their carbon footprint. Compared to last year’s survey, Americans are taking sustainable travel more seriously and are willing to spend more money to do their part.

The Vacationer anonymously polled, via SurveyMonkey, 1,096 American adults and results were analyzed by The Vacationer’s Eric Jones, assistant professor, mathematics, Rowan College South Jersey. The survey was conducted before Earth Day to gauge feelings on sustainable and eco-friendly travel.

Last year’s sustainable travel survey showed that 82.67% believed sustainable travel was important. This year’s figure shows 87.32%, which is 4.65% more people. Of that figure, 53.10% say it is somewhat important, while 34.22% say it is very important.

More than 81% of American adults plan to make more sustainable (eco-friendly) decisions when planning travel. Of that figure, 29.84% say they will make the decisions regardless of if it inconveniences them, while 51.73% will do it only if it does not inconvenience them. Last year’s survey showed 74.85% planned on making more sustainable travel decisions, with 26.55% saying they would do it regardless of if it inconveniences them.

Participants were asked how much more would they be willing to spend to lower their carbon footprint on their next trip:

  • $0—21.72%
  • Less than $50—33.39%
  • Between $50 and $250—33.21%
  • Between $250 and $500—9.22%
  • More than $500—2.46%

202 million Americans, or 78.28%, are willing to spend more money to travel sustainably. Last year’s survey only showed 71.37% were willing to spend more, so this is a notable increase. Nearly 12% say they are willing to spend $250 or more.

Participants were asked which factor is most important to them when booking a trip:

  • Cost—59.58%
  • Time and convenience—33.58%
  • Sustainability and carbon footprint—6.84%

While most people care about sustainable travel, cost and convenience still come first.

Participants were asked if they think enough sustainable travel options exist when it comes to flights, lodging and rental cars:

  • Yes—18.16%
  • No—37.41%
  • I do not know—44.43%

More than 81% either think there are not enough sustainable travel options or simply do not know. Only 18.16% believe there are enough options.

Nearly two out of 10 people use sustainable travel filters when booking, while more than 80% do not know the filters even exist.