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Americans’ Travel Plans and Concerns During COVID-19 [Latest Survey]

Alex Miller's image
Alex Miller
Alex Miller's image

Alex Miller

Founder & CEO

297 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 34U.S. States Visited: 29

Founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, Alex is a leader in the industry and has earned and redeemed millions of points and miles. He frequently discusses the award travel industry with CNBC, Fox Business...
Edited by: Kellie Jez
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Kellie Jez

Director of Operations & Compliance

6 Published Articles 1185 Edited Articles

Countries Visited: 10U.S. States Visited: 20

Kellie’s professional experience has led her to a deep passion for compliance, data reporting, and process improvement. Kellie’s learned the ins and outs of the points and miles world and leads UP’s c...

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The coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread as worldwide cases have now topped 300,000, due in part to increased testing. With concerns over containing the virus and its spread, travel warnings have been issued and travel is down across the world.

With that in mind, we wanted to find out what Americans were thinking when it came to travel plans and their travel concerns. We surveyed 1,250 people in the U.S. to find out when they planned to travel again, what they are most worried about, and what would make them feel comfortable enough to travel. Here are our findings.

We asked Americans when they would feel comfortable traveling again for non-essential and non-business reasons. We found that 1 in 5 Americans (20%) said they would not feel comfortable until 2021. Interestingly, 14% of Americans said they’d be comfortable traveling in April 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic, and 7% said they’d travel within the next two weeks.

Additionally, we analyzed the data by age. One group being respondents aged 18-25, and another being respondents aged 26-34. The analysis shows that younger respondents, particularly those aged 18-25, are much more likely to feel comfortable traveling sooner than other Americans. Within the 18-25 age group, 20% said they’d be willing to travel in April, 13% said they’d feel comfortable traveling within the next two weeks, and only 11% said they wouldn’t travel until 2021.

Respondents between 26-34 years-of-age were more tentative in their travel plans. Within the 26-34 age group, 14% said they would consider traveling in April 2020, 8% in the next two weeks, and 18% said they wouldn’t feel comfortable traveling until 2021.

We asked respondents what their biggest concerns were about traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, 41% of Americans said their biggest concern was contracting the virus themselves. The second-highest response (32%) was spreading COVID-19 to friends or family as a result of contracting the virus.

Because it can take up to two weeks for those with COVID-19 to present symptoms, it’s possible to spread the virus unknowingly. 17% said their biggest concern was spreading it unknowingly to other travelers and 0.2% said they were worried about being stuck somewhere as a result of quarantine. Interestingly, 10% of respondents said they have no concerns currently about traveling.

When broken down by gender, 38% of women said their biggest concern was spreading the virus to friends/family compared to 27% of men.

Analyzing travel concerns by age, older Americans were concerned about themselves contracting the virus than younger Americans. This is likely given that people over the age of 65 are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. 68% of respondents 65+ years old said that contracting the virus was their biggest concern; this was nearly twice the rate of those aged 18-25 who indicated their biggest concern was contracting the virus at 37%.

As for the factors that would make Americans feel comfortable to travel again, the majority said they’d rely on official announcements. 51% said that government or health officials giving the ‘all clear’ would be the most important factor to feel comfortable traveling again. Additionally, 27% of respondents said no new COVID-19 cases in the destination they’re traveling to would be the most important factor.

Finally, we asked Americans if there was an airline ticket price low enough for them to buy a non-essential/non-business ticket. Overall, 36% of Americans said they would not travel on an airplane no matter how cheap tickets cost. 19% said they’d buy roundtrip tickets that cost between $26-$50.

When looking as price’s impact on decisions by gender, women said they wouldn’t travel on an airplane, no matter the cost, at a much higher rate than men. 42% of women indicated that they wouldn’t travel on an airplane, regardless of prices, compared to the 32% of men who indicated the same sentiment.

Older Americans, those 65+ years old, were 3 times as likely to say they wouldn’t travel on an airplane. 78% of respondents aged 65+ said that they wouldn’t travel on an airplane, regardless of prices, compared to only 24% of those aged 18-25.

Methodology

We surveyed 1,250 Americans on March 19, 2020, asking them their concerns and plans to travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is the breakdown of our surveyed group:

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We estimate the margin of error at 3% with a 95% confidence level.

Final Thoughts

In addition to COVID-19 being a serious public health concern, it’s been a major disruption to the travel and airline industry. Americans are, for the most part, not traveling for non-essential, non-business reasons. When people will feel comfortable enough to travel again is not certain, but our survey provides a snapshot of what Americans are thinking as they look ahead.

Taking Proper Preventative Care

The first reported case of COVID-19 was reported in China in December 2019. Since then, it’s been detected in over 100 countries worldwide. The virus spreads person-to-person and ranges from very mild symptoms to severe illness or death.

Symptoms can include:

  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Pneumonia
  • In some severe cases, difficulty breathing.

The CDC recommends knowing the signs and symptoms, limiting community movement, and frequent hand washing. For those at higher risk, it is recommended to stay home as much as possible and avoid crowds and traveling. Public cooperation is key to slowing the spread of the virus.

Alex Miller's image

About Alex Miller

Founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, Alex is a leader in the industry and has earned and redeemed millions of points and miles. He frequently discusses the award travel industry with CNBC, Fox Business, The New York Times, and more.

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