As the COVID-19 pandemic moves through unpredictable ups and downs, intent to travel continues to climb higher, according to the 2022 Deloitte Summer Travel Survey. Unhindered by continued news about variants or by rising airfares and hotel rates, travel intent has reached a level that would have been high before the pandemic—46% of Americans are planning a trip involving stays in hotels or other types of paid lodging. Young Americans are traveling the most, but those over 55 are also dropping some of their hesitance to return to the roads and skies in greater numbers.
Health worries have declined as a factor in deciding whether to travel. Many still embrace measures to mitigate the spread of the virus—from masking on airplanes to choosing destinations and attractions that allow for social distancing. But the pandemic’s effects on travel plans appear to be fading.
Financial concerns have some staying home, but those who do plan to travel are prepared to increase their budgets. Nearly three in 10 travelers plan to spend more than they did in 2019, and high airfares and room rates are the number one reason why.
U.S.-based properties, carriers and destinations stand to attract the lion’s share of travel spend, as just 15% of Americans (27% of travelers) plan to take an international flight. High international airfares could be a factor, along with unpredictable entry and exit regulations and the possibility of ending up stranded overseas after testing positive for COVID-19. The U.S. hospitality industry has a busy summer ahead, with 67% of travelers planning hotel stays, and 16% planning rental stays.
As Americans return to travel in greater numbers, a new group is establishing itself as an emerging force: the untethered worker, or laptop lugger, who plans to mix some work into their vacation. Travelers in this group tend to be younger and of a higher-income group. They plan to take more and longer trips, but that’s just the beginning of the clear differences this group is beginning to exhibit.
A representative sample of 4,233 Americans took this survey between March 23-30. Of those, 2,546 qualified as travelers. A smaller subset of 1,960 who were staying in paid lodging, rather than only with friends and relatives, completed the longest version of the survey.