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American Travel Forecast for This Holiday Season

  • Published by Ozgur Tore

travel with childrenAccording to a new consumer holiday travel survey, 40% of Americans – or 99.8 million people – plan to travel over the course of the 2017 holiday season. Millennials plan to travel more than any other age demographic (48%) and those with children are the segment most likely to travel at 54%.

The survey by Generali Global Assistance's Travel Insurance division, broke travelers out into two buckets – those planning to travel to see family and those planning to travel for vacation. Of those planning to travel to see family, most (73%) will spend less than $1,000. Those travelling for vacation will spend significantly more, with over half spending more than $1,000 and 18% spending between $2,500 - $5,000.

Chris Carnicelli, CEO of Generali Global Assistance commented on the survey findings, "For many, the holidays are an important time of year to connect with loved ones and going to see family is by far the primary reason to travel during the holiday season, with 87% of Christmas travel and 64% of New Year's travel being dedicated to going to see relatives. For those travelling to see family, becoming closer as family was the primary importance at 68%, followed by relaxation (66%), reading or learning new things (18%) and sports activities (13%)."

For vacationers, becoming closer as a family was still important at 32%, but it ranked behind relaxing or finding peace of mind (65%) and discovering new cultures or enjoying a change of scenery (44%). Vacationers were also more interested in reading or learning new things (29%), sports activities (26%) and fostering a new romantic relationship (26%).

Additional survey findings include:

  • For travelers going to see family, 85% will stay within the continental U.S. versus 58% for vacation goers. The Caribbean was the most popular choice for vacation travel outside the U.S.
  • Travelers going to see family will stay relatively close to home – but not too close. Nearly 40% will stay within 100 miles, but only 7% will stay within 10 miles of home. For vacationers, 18% will remain within 100 miles of home and one-quarter will venture more than 1,000 miles away from their abodes.
  • For family seeking travelers and vacationers alike the primary method of transport will be a car at 68% and 43% respectively. The second option for both is an airplane at 29% for those going to see family and 40% for those going on vacation.
  • When the primary purpose of travel is to see family, 68% of travelers will stay with family or friends. For those going on vacation, only 20% will stay with family or friends. Twice as many people traveling for vacation will utilize shared economy options (e.g. personal home/apartment rentals) compared to those going to see family.

Carnicelli added, "Whether going to see family or going on vacation 30% of travelers plan to protect their investment with travel insurance. In an increasingly complex world, ensuring that you are fiscally covered in the event of something unforeseen affecting your trip is becoming more apparent to consumers. However, many misconceptions around travel insurance still persists – which Generali, and the industry at large, are striving to address through enhanced transparency."

The "Holiday Travel" survey was conducted by ORC on behalf of Generali Global Assistance betweenNovember 2-5, 2017.  The survey was conducted online for 1,026 U.S. adults 18 years of age and older, comprised of 509 men and 517 women.

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