The latest Longwoods International tracking study of Americans’ collective sentiment towards travel has shown that roughly 80 percent of travelers have established travel plans during the next sixth months.
That figure has remained steady since the study’s last wave, published two weeks prior, and represents an all-time high in pandemic-era travel planning—even approaching pre-pandemic levels.
This increase in travel planning activity, the firm says, is being driven by the lessening impact of COVID-19 as a factor in consumers’ travel decisions and a sense of optimism fueled by the rollout of vaccines.
Now, about 40 percent of respondents reported that the viral threat was impacting their travel-related decisions, compared to around two-thirds who said the same last April.
Among those who are planning their first post-COVID leisure trips, visiting friends and family topped the list of respondents’ “to do” lists at 45 percent, followed by 35 percent who said they’d be heading to the beach or waterfront for their next vacation, and 34 percent planning on road-tripping.
The findings continue to bear out pandemic-era trends in travel, such as selecting domestic destinations over international ones and favoring private-vehicle transportation over air or rail travel.
“We are encouraged by the high percentage of travelers in trip-planning mode in the two most recent survey waves. Traveler optimism continues to track with the drop in new coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, as well as the progress in vaccine distribution,” said Amir Eylon, President and CEO of Longwoods International. “As long as these positive trends continue, we would expect to see steady improvement for the U.S. travel industry.”
While one-third of respondents indicated that the COVID-19 vaccine has no impact on their travel-planning, 38 percent said they’ll wait to be vaccinated before resuming travel, 20 percent will wait until their friends and family have also been inoculated, 19 percent want to wait until their majority of Americans have been vaccinated, 18 percent are willing to wait until the majority of people in their intended destination are vaccinated and 16 percent are holding out until the majority of their own community has been immunized.
The COVID-19 Travel Sentiment Study-Wave 31 was fielded on February 17, 2021, using a randomly-selected national sample of 1,000 adults, ages 18 and over. Selection quotas were applied in keeping with Census targets for age, gender and region, making the survey as representative of the overall U.S. population as possible.