Travel Trends 2022: How COVID Is Impacting Americans' Summer Travel Plans

Matt Brannon

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Matt Brannon

May 9th, 2022
Updated May 9th, 2022

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✈️ COVID Concerns Not Stopping Travelers ✈️
About 83% of Americans have travel plans this summer — but 62% of those travelers worry COVID could disrupt their getaways.

More Americans Traveling | International Travel Plans | Ukraine-Russia Worries | COVID Concerns | Mask and Vaccine Mandates | Vacation Activities | How Americans Are Traveling

In spite of the lingering pandemic, most Americans (83%) have plans to travel this summer.

For some, this summer will be the first in which they've felt safe to travel since the start of the pandemic. About half (51%) of those who chose not to travel in the summers of 2020 and 2021 have decided to plan a trip in summer 2022.

Following a considerable decline in COVID cases and hospitalizations,[1] this data suggests a public that spent previous summers staying home is indicating it's ready to make up for lost time.

Three-quarters of Americans (75%) now say they feel comfortable traveling, up from 55% in 2021.

Regardless of their willingness to leave home, most Americans still carry concerns of their travel being disrupted by COVID-19 (62%) or, more recently, the effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine (62%).

To learn more about this summer's trends in travel and tourism, we surveyed 1,004 Americans about their travel plans, preferences, and apprehensions.

Travel Trends Statistics 🗺️

  • 83% of Americans have summer travel plans in 2022, up from 70% in 2021. Jump to section👇
  • 43% of travelers plan to spend more money on travel this summer compared to a typical year pre-pandemic. 👇
  • 37% of American travelers plan to visit another country this summer.
    • Their most common destinations are other countries in North America (49%), Western Europe (37%), and Eastern Europe (34%). 👇
  • 62% of travelers are concerned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine affecting their travel plans. Among those traveling to Eastern Europe, 79% are concerned. 👇
  • Americans feel safest traveling within the U.S. (71% feel safe), to Canada (62%), and to Australia (53%).
    • They feel the least safe in the Middle East (26%), Africa (29%), and Eastern Europe (30%) amid the invasion of Ukraine. 👇
  • 62% of travelers are concerned COVID will impact their summer travel plans. 👇
    • Despite those concerns, Americans feel more comfortable traveling now (75%) compared to the start of the pandemic in 2020 (47%) and in 2021 (55%).
  • 39% of those not traveling say COVID factored into their decision to stay home. 👇
  • 68% of Americans support mask mandates on flights, despite the requirement being overturned in April. 👇
    • 61% of Americans support a vaccine mandate while traveling.

83% of Americans Plan to Travel in Summer 2022

With COVID cases relatively low, Americans are more willing to travel in summer 2022. About 83% of Americans have summer travel plans, up from 70% in 2021 and 66% in 2020.

Many Americans who stayed home the last two summers are taking trips this time around. Just over half (51%) of those who reported no summer travel in 2020 and 2021 have plans to travel this summer.

About 54% of Americans plan to travel for at least a week, with 29% traveling for at least two weeks. A little over a quarter of Americans (28%) plan to travel between 1 to 6 days, while 17% are staying home with no plans to travel this summer.

This summer, Americans plan to travel for:

  • 1 to 3 days (12%)
  • 4 to 6 days (16%)
  • 1 to 2 weeks (25%)
  • 2 to 4 weeks (18%)
  • 1 month or more (11%)
  • No plans to travel this summer (17%)

Many Americans Plan to Spend More Money on 2022 Summer Travel Compared to Pre-Pandemic Years

A higher number of people traveling means more money spent on trips. Nearly half of Americans (43%) plan to spend more on summer travel this year compared to a typical summer before the pandemic.

Those Americans planning to spend more expect to increase their spending by $3,500 while traveling this summer. About 27% of Americans plan to spend less, and that group anticipates a median decrease of $2,500.

Just 30% of Americans say their summer travel spending will be the same as before the pandemic.

Compared to pre-pandemic summer traveling, Americans plan to spend:

  • Much more (18%)
  • Somewhat more (25%)
  • About the same (30%)
  • Somewhat less (18%)
  • Much less (9%)

The Most Common International Destinations Are Other North American Countries and Western Europe

Plans to go abroad might account for some of Americans' increased spending on travel. More than one in three American travelers (37%) are planning international vacations.

Americans with plans for a summer trip are traveling:

  • Domestically only (63%)
  • Both domestically and internationally (22%)
  • Internationally only (15%)

For those crossing borders, the top destinations include North American countries outside of the U.S. (49%), Western Europe (37%), and Eastern Europe (34%).

The most popular international destinations this summer are:

  • North America (e.g., Canada, Mexico, Caribbean) (49%)
  • Western Europe (e.g, France, Italy, Germany, Portugal) (37%)
  • Eastern Europe (e.g., Poland, Romania, Croatia, Greece) (34%)
  • South America (27%)
  • Australia/Oceania (22%)
  • Asia (21%)
  • Africa (21%)

Most American Travelers Are Concerned About the Invasion of Ukraine Affecting Their Plans — Even Those Not Traveling Abroad

Instability outside the U.S. is impacting how Americans feel about traveling. A majority of American travelers (62%) are concerned that the Russian invasion of Ukraine could affect their plans.

American travelers say they are:

  • Very concerned (30%)
  • Somewhat concerned (32%)
  • Not concerned (37%)

Of Americans planning to travel to Eastern Europe, about four in five (79%) are concerned about the invasion impacting them, with 45% very concerned.

Somewhat surprisingly, when looking only at Americans who plan to travel within the U.S., a majority (56%) still say they're concerned about the invasion affecting their plans — possibly due to higher gas prices making driving less affordable.

Only 30% of Americans Would Feel Safe in Eastern Europe

As the invasion of Ukraine continues, only about 30% of Americans say they'd feel safe in Eastern Europe right now.

Only the Middle East (26%) and Africa (29%) scored lower when Americans were asked which places they'd feel safe traveling to.

  • Percentage of Americans who say they'd feel safe in a given place:
    • United States of America (71%)
    • Canada (62%)
    • Australia/Oceania (53%)
    • Western Europe (47%)
    • Mexico (34%)
    • South America (33%)
    • Asia (33%)
    • Eastern Europe (30%)
    • Africa (29%)
    • Middle East (26%)

More Than 60% of American Travelers Worry COVID Could Disrupt Their Plans

COVID is still on the minds of American travelers despite relatively low case counts. Although more Americans are planning to travel this summer, most (62%) report concerns that the pandemic could affect their plans.

When it comes to COVID impacting their travel plans, Americans are:

  • Very concerned (24%)
  • Somewhat concerned (38%)
  • Not concerned (38%)

That sense of caution is reflected in the finding that 86% of travelers say they're prioritizing bookings with flexible cancellation policies.

Travelers, however, aren't yet rushing to cancel their plans. Despite their concerns about COVID, three-quarters of Americans (75%) say they feel comfortable traveling now. That number is up from 55% in 2021 and 47% in 2020.

About 2 in 5 Americans Not Traveling This Summer Say COVID Was a Factor in Their Decision

About 17% of Americans have no travel plans this summer. Of that group, 39% say the pandemic was a factor in their choice to stay home.

If the COVID-19 situation were to significantly improve, 39% of non-travelers say they would likely consider traveling this summer:

  • Very likely (10%)
  • Somewhat likely (29%)
  • Somewhat unlikely (30%)
  • Very unlikely (32%)

Overall, the most commonly cited reason for not traveling this summer was cost. More than half of non-travelers (51%) say they don't have the budget for a vacation.

Asked when they plan to travel again, about one in five Americans staying home this summer (21%) say they plan to travel in 2023. Others say they'll travel when the threat of COVID goes away (17%) or when pandemic mandates are lifted (5%).

Americans staying home this summer plan to travel:

  • Later in 2022 (13%)
  • 2023 (21%)
  • 2024 (9%)
  • 2025 (2%)
  • After 2025 (9%)
  • When COVID-19 mandates are lifted (5%)
  • When the threat of COVID-19 goes away (17%)
  • Never (26%)

Most Americans Support Mask Mandates on Planes, Vaccine Mandates for Travel

Following a court decision in late April, U.S. transportation officials announced they will no longer enforce the mask mandate for flights that had been imposed early in the pandemic.[2]

More than two-thirds of Americans (68%), however, still support requiring masks for air travel:

  • Strongly support (38%)
  • Somewhat support (30%)
  • Somewhat oppose (15%)
  • Strongly oppose (16%)

In particular, Black Americans show higher support for masking compared to the general population, with nearly three-quarters (74%) supporting masking requirements on flights.

A smaller yet still significant majority of Americans (61%) support vaccine mandates while traveling:

  • Strongly support (35%)
  • Somewhat support (26%)
  • Somewhat oppose (18%)
  • Strongly oppose (22%)

The Most Common Vacation Activities Include Going to the Beach, Touring Cities

For Americans who plan to travel this summer, the most popular getaway activity is going to the beach, with nearly three in five travelers (58%) planning to do so.

On summer vacations, Americans plan to:

  • Go to a beach (58%)
  • Tour a city (45%)
  • Shop (41%)
  • Visit museums (34%)
  • Hike (30%)
  • Visit bars/clubs (28%)
  • Attend a concert/festival (26%)
  • Attend an event (e.g., wedding, graduation, etc.) (25%)
  • Visit a spa (23%)

In terms of travel priorities, Americans at large say they care most about seeing new places (92%) and relaxing (92%).

The top priorities for Americans on summer vacations include:

  • Seeing new places (92%)
  • Relaxing (92%)
  • Staying within their budget (91%)
  • Having adventures (89%)
  • Authentic local experiences (e.g., eating local cuisine, learning new cultures, etc.) (89%)
  • Flexible cancellation options (86%)
  • Shopping options (79%)
  • Getting out of their comfort zone (79%)
  • Packing in as many activities as possible (78%)
  • Eco-friendly options (77%)

Travel by Plane, Road Trips Are the Most Popular Ways of Vacationing for Americans

Of Americans who plan to travel this summer, the most common way of getting to their destination is by plane (43%).

The most popular ways Americans plan to travel this summer include:

  • Plane (43%)
  • Road trip more than 200 miles from home (40%)
  • Road trip within 200 miles of home (39%)
  • Cruise (16%)
  • Bus (16%)
  • Train (15%)
  • Organized tour (12%)

Asked with whom they're traveling, most Americans are going with a partner/spouse (51%), their children (37%), or friends (26%). Meanwhile, about 1 in 6 Americans with travel plans are going solo (17%).

Americans plan to travel with their:

  • Partner/spouse (51%)
  • Child(ren)/grandchild(ren) (37%)
  • Friend(s) (26%)
  • Parent(s) (21%)
  • Extended family member(s) (19%)
  • Sibling(s) (18%)
  • Solo (17%)

The average length for each trip varies widely. About one-third of American travelers (33%) expect their typical outing to last four days or less — also known as a micro trip.[3]

American travelers expect their typical summer trip to last:

  • 1 day (3%)
  • 2 days (8%)
  • 3 days (12%)
  • 4 days (10%)
  • 5 days (12%)
  • 6 days (5%)
  • 1 week (24%)
  • 2 weeks (16%)
  • More than 2 weeks (11%)

Methodology

On April 5-6, 2022, Clever conducted a survey of 1,004 American adults. Each respondent was asked up to 20 questions about their summer 2022 travel plans, travel spending, and concerns about travel.

About Clever

Since 2017, Clever Real Estate has been on a mission to make selling or buying a home easier and more affordable for everyone. 12 million annual readers rely on Clever's library of educational content and data-driven research to make smarter real estate decisions—and to date, Clever has helped consumers save more than $82 million on realtor fees. Clever's research has been featured in The New York Times, Business Insider, Inman, Housing Wire, and many more.

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FAQs

How popular is international travel in 2022?

About 37% of Americans plan to travel outside the U.S. in the summer 2022. The most popular destinations include other North American countries (49%), Western Europe (37%), and Eastern Europe (34%). Learn more.

What is a micro trip?

Micro trips are abbreviated vacations of about four days or less. About 33% of Americans with summer travel plans for 2022 say they expect their trips to last one to four days. Learn more.

Do Americans support mask mandates on planes?

More than two-thirds of Americans (68%) support requiring masks on flights to limit the spread of COVID as of April 2022. Among Black Americans, 74% support mask mandates on planes. Learn more.

ARTICLE SOURCES
[1]

New York Times. "COVID in the U.S." Accessed April 25, 2022. Updated April 25, 2022.

[3]

The Jet Set Blonde. "What is a micro-vacation?." Accessed April 25, 2022. Updated Jan. 3, 2020.

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