Survey: 88% jump in travel abroad

Nearly half of travelers (49%) have already taken an international trip, reflecting an 88% jump in travel abroad since the summer of 2021, according to the Winter 2022 Global Rescue Travel Safety and Sentiment survey.

The survey found that domestically, 85% of respondents have already traveled, signaling an 18% increase since the summer of 2021. More people are returning to travel domestically and abroad. Nine out of 10 travelers are “much less or less” concerned about travel since the pandemic, revealing a 22% increase in travel confidence since the summer of 2021.

“All signals are pointing to the beginning of the end of international travel restrictions due to the pandemic,” said Dan Richards, CEO, Global Rescue, a provider of medical, security, evacuation and travel risk management services. “Countries like New Zealand, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and others are opening their borders as severe COVID-19 illnesses and hospitalizations decline, vaccinations increase and testing is more convenient. Domestic travel continues to increase but the big news is that travel abroad is surging.”

Destination preferences continue to lean toward out-of-the-way places in the open air with fewer people. More than three-quarters of respondents (76%) are planning more outdoor, remote travel—a 40% increase compared to traveler responses nearly a year ago. For the first time since the pandemic started, an overwhelming majority of travelers (82%) indicated they are planning more trips lasting five or more days.

“When people feel safe, they travel and we are seeing tremendous, positive change in the traveler confidence about their well-being,” Richards said.

Nearly half of respondents (47%) confirm they feel safest when vaccinated or recovered from COVID followed by having medical evacuation protection (20%) and visiting uncrowded destinations or outdoor activity (17%).

Despite the upturn in travel attitudes and behavior, more than half of travelers (52%) admit that COVID-19 infection, its variants or quarantine is still their number one travel fear, followed by trip cancellation (17%) and having an accident or sustaining an injury (16%).

Travelers are divided when it comes to their opinion of how government officials are handling travel choices during the pandemic. More than a third of respondents (38%) believe current COVID-19 restrictions are “impossibly strict” or “unnecessarily strict,” while slightly more (44%) say the restrictions are “just right.” Less than a fifth (17%) say the restrictions are “too lenient.”