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Holiday travel may rebound but overspending, uncertainty can spoil fun


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Travel industry may get the gift it has been waiting for this holiday season if recent predictions on year-end traveling turn out to be accurate. Multiple studies show that pandemic-weary Americans are willing to travel for holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.

AAA expects Thanksgiving to see travel volumes rise within 5% of 2019, with 53.4 Million people using the rails, roads, and airways. This is a 13% increase over last year. The rebound in travel will also be greater than 2020, with air travel rising by 80%.

Senior vice president of AAA Travel Paula Twidale says Thanksgiving travelers can expect to share trains, planes and roads with around 6.4 millions more people.

In a statement, she stated, “This Thanksgiving, travel is going to look very different from last year.” Americans are now ready to travel, with new safety and health guidelines in place.

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Mike Daher, audit, consulting and tax advisory firm Deloitte, agreed.

Daher (Vice Chair), U.S. transport, hospitality, and services leader for non-attest services, Deloitte. So they will take to the skies to make this happen.

Deloitte discovered that 4 out 10 Americans will travel to the holidays in its November Holiday Travel Survey. 1 in 3 respondents will fly or stay at lodging.

“And we think they’re going to spend roughly about the same as they did in 2019 — pre-pandemic times,” Daher said.

Being able to travel when and where we like — time and treasure permitting — is a hallmark of normalcy, so getting back on the road for holiday trips can feel like the good old days.

Andrew Custage is the head of analytics at Sense360 by Medallia. He said that 34% of respondents to its Holiday Plans Survey on Oct. 8-11, 2020, felt the holiday season would feel more normal than in 2020. 15% of those questioned said they feel the season will feel the same as it did prior to the pandemic.

It was found that people from the Northeast (35%) and West (31%), were more likely than Southerners (28%), and Midwesterners (27%). Custage suggests that the difference could be explained by the fact that the Northeastern and West are more restrictive about Covid regulations, as well as being home to more transplants who are likely to travel to other areas for holidays.

According to Jen Moyse (senior director of product at TripIt), 53% of TripIt’s users intend to travel within the next three-months. About 20% will take Thanksgiving trips, while 1 in 4 plan to go later in winter holidays.  

According to her, “Many of our travellers reported being more comfortable with travel in general.” They really desire to be out there.

Traveling means spending, and personal finance site Nerdwallet found that 43% of those surveyed planned to put money towards travel during the holidays — up from just 20% last year. They plan on spending $1,800 per year on hotels and air travel.

NerdWallet offers holiday travel tips

  • You can save money for your travels in advanceIt is ideal to have money saved all year, but it’s better to save as much as you can. … High-interest debt can be avoided by saving early.
  • Repay any credit card debt immediately.Make a plan now to repay your holiday debts if you have a large balance. Credit card debt has a very high interest rate. So that you don’t carry 2021 debt into the future, work hard to reduce it.
  • Make holiday plans flexible.It is important to keep travel plans open-ended in the wake of the Pandemic. You should check airline cancellation or change policies before you book a holiday flight. Also, you should look into travel insurance before buying it.


(Seven out of 10 will put some travel expenses on a credit card — charging $1,471, on average — Nerdwallet found, but 21% of them say they will pay off that balance with their first statement.)

Sara Rathner from Nerdwallet is a travel expert. She said that this year was different. Nerdwallet’s Harris Poll surveyed 2,026 adults in the United States between Sept. 13 and Sept. 15. People feel more safe getting outside, and they are doing it more often.

She suggested that this could be due to the fact that most Americans didn’t have Covid vaccines at the same moment last year. However, they do now. (As at Oct. 30, 67.1% Americans had received at most one dose of coronavirus vaccinations. according the Mayo Clinic.)

However, vaccines or not, Covid continues to impact some Americans holiday plans. In fact, 57% said that they aren’t planning on spending any money on airfare or hotels because of health concerns.

While travelers feel more confident this year than last, it doesn’t mean they are less vulnerable.

Megan Moncrief

Squaremouth chief marketing officer

Rathner said that “a lot of people still are unsure what to do.” “77% of those who feel unsure are doing so because the pandemic is to blame,” Rathner said.

Some people who plan to travel are changing their plans after the pandemic. About one-quarter told Nerdwallet they were looking at different means of transportation — “possibly driving instead of flying,” said Rathner — and 22% will stay at a different type of lodging, whether a private vacation property rental or the homes of family or friends.

Deloitte found similar interest in road travel, but travelers were more likely to say they enjoy driving (38%), than they are afraid of Covid (12%) The firm stated that interest in renting private accommodation fell to 16%, from 23% during the summer, presumably because there are fewer year-end trips to major cities.

Seventeen percent said they would drive to another town or city, up from 12% in 2018 and 15% in 2019. Similarly, 8% of respondents will fly to travel, compared with 4% and 7% respectively in 2020, 2019 and 2020. Another 6%, up from 3% each year in the past two years, will use a train or bus. Medallia found that around 10% of Americans polled expect to move from “nontraveler” to “traveler” in the next year.

For its part, TripIt has seen “heavy” car rental reservations, too, but it’s also tracked a different behavioral pattern around holiday travel, said Moyse — a tendency to wait longer before even thinking about booking. She said that 28% of the travelers she spoke to said they would wait to see what Thanksgiving brings and were planning to book a bit closer to departure.

It could also be due to bargain hunting combined with worry about Covid’s recent rise. According to Deloitte’s survey, half of respondents still hadn’t booked their vacation as of September.

Indeed, TripIt found that, of app users who had to change or cancel travel plans due to the delta surge, 27% lost money — some as much as $5,000, according to Moyse. We assume that this has an effect on their future plans,” she stated, noting that TripIt was told by 37% that travelers were worried about the possibility of having to cancel and reschedule vacations. 26 percent of respondents said that they had booked travel they are prepared to cancel.

Squaremouth, an online marketplace for travel insurance, is already ahead of the market year-to date, months before the outbreak. We know that travel isn’t fully back, but we believe the space for travel insurance has improved. [captured]Megan Moncrief chief marketing officer, stated that there is a greater share of this market now than ever before. She also said that customers are much younger today than in the past.    

“Travelers are more confident this year than last, but they still feel vulnerability,” she said. There are some situations where travel insurance may be required. For example, most passengers on major cruise lines like Carnival, Celebrity Disney, and NCL must show proof that they have been immunized against Covid to be able to sail.

TripIt found that 60% of users of the app said they had proof of vaccinations with them when traveling (15% used a vaccine passport app), and almost 30% needed to undergo a Covid test after recent travel. Moyse stated, “You can’t go without ID.” Moyse said, “You can’t travel without ID.”

In light of international travel regulations, she said, “Now you need to also have vaccination cards.” We have been advising our clients to pay attention to these requirements as they are constantly changing.

Americans who want to travel may also have more money, which could make it possible for them to pay for additional insurance. Some (mainly wealthy) people are happy despite the widespread national grumble about rising prices, scarcity of goods and general gloominess. actually have some extra cashLockdown restrictions on travel and government stimulus checks helped to save money. Custage of Sense360 by Medallia claimed that people who wait to book their holidays travel are more concerned with safety than about the cost.

He stated that Covid is a more popular concern than financial issues like flight prices. Sense360 found that 22% of respondents cited Covid in their decision to delay bookings. This is in contrast to 15% who cite high prices.

More people are looking to work from home this holiday season.

Mike Daher

Deloitte vice-chair

It could be that higher income travelers are more likely to travel, and they may even have the most time, Daher of Deloitte said. “Those who are more affluent … plan to spend even more this holiday season,” he said. “Out of that 4 in 10 who will travel, most are making over $100,000 — and that does bode well for the travel industry.

It’s not surprising that the more financially stable are less likely this winter to travel. Deloitte revealed that households with lower incomes are three times more likely than their higher-income counterparts to stay home because they fear the cost of travel (31% vs. 12%) Wealthier travellers are more likely to increase their travel budget, but 1 in 4 middle- and lower-income travelers will reduce spending.

According to Deloitte, overall 32% of people earning less than $50,000 per year plan to travel to the holidays. This compares to 46% for those who make $50,000-100,000 and 53% for those who earn more than $100,000.

It was also discovered that remote work by the employer is having a positive effect on travel bookings.

Daher stated that workplace flexibility will drive greater demand for hotels and airlines this holiday season. “People are extending their trips by a few days … [and]They choose to make work part of their vacation trips.