Leisure Travel to Take Off This Summer
Tuesday, May 31st, 2022
Safety perceptions related to travel and social activities are at their highest point since the pandemic began, prompting many Americans to plan summer trips. However, amid renewed optimism for leisure travel, financial concerns and higher prices weigh on travelers. Deloitte's new report, "Getting Back to Getaways: 2022 Deloitte Summer Travel Survey," examines the trends and preferences that will guide leisure trips this season. The report is based on a survey of 4,233 Americans fielded March 23-30, 2022. Among those, 2,536 qualified as travelers, and a smaller subset of 1,960 travelers said they would stay in paid lodging rather than only with family or friends.
Summer travel makes a comeback, for many Americans
While leisure travel appeared to be on the rebound last summer, the Delta and Omicron variants slowed its comeback. Now, with traveler confidence on the rise, summer 2022 travel will likely surpass both 2021 and pre-pandemic levels, with a desire to spend time with family and friends the main driver for travel. However, financial and health concerns will continue to impact where and how Americans travel.
Six in 10 Americans will travel this summer, an increase from last year when 5 in 10 Americans planned the same.
Travelers will take an average of two trips this summer with most (83%) planning to stay in hotels and/or rentals. Half (51%) plan to fly, while slightly more plan to take road trips (57%). Only 7% plan to take a cruise.
More than one-quarter (28%) of travelers plan to spend significantly more this summer over their 2019 travel budgets for marquee trips, due to higher prices as well as accumulated savings. Meanwhile, 15% plan to spend significantly less; half of those travelers cite financial concerns.
Spending time with family and friends is the top motivator for summer travel at 47%, up 13% from 2021.
Beaches continue to lead all destinations (32%), followed by cities (29%) and the great outdoors (16%).
About two-thirds of travelers (65%) are planning their longest trips for June and July, but roads and skies should be busy all summer with 45% of all trips slated for August or September. Further, trip durations will shrink compared to 2021; for one-third of travelers (32%), the longest trip will last less than one week, up from 22% in 2021.
Travelers spread their spend across a variety of travel products
Travelers have a variety of options for their summer trips. As trust in the safety of lodging and air travel rises, they are willing to pay for comfort and space, signaling further optimism for travel providers.
Nearly half (46%) of Americans will travel and stay in paid lodging, up from 41% in 2021.
While hotels remain more popular (79%), private rental demand is strong (20%). More than one-third (34%) of summer rental travelers booked a private rental or plan to for the first time, up from 28% in 2021. Further, 7 in 10 of these new rental guests expect to continue staying in rentals for at least half of their trips going forward.
Younger travelers (18-34 years old) are almost twice as likely to stay in private lodging (26%) as travelers 55 and older (14%).
Safety perceptions for air travel are at their highest since the pandemic began. More than half (54%) of Americans feel safe taking a flight this summer, compared to 31% in 2021.
Nearly half (47%) of travelers will fly for their marquee trip, and 54% are willing to pay for a more comfortable flight experience including first or business class (17%) or other upgrades (37%).
One-quarter (27%) of air travelers will fly overseas, with Europe being the most popular destination (49%); followed by Mexico and the Caribbean (28%); Asia (8%); Central/South America (7%); EMEA (6%); and Australia/Oceania (2%). Among international travelers age 55 and older, 6 in 10 plan to visit Europe, versus 4 in 10 younger travelers. Geopolitical developments factor into travel decisions for 6 in 10 travelers.
With the rise in air travel, fewer Americans will hit the road this summer: 62% will drive for at least one part of their trip, down from 76% in 2021. Nearly half (48%) are driving shorter distances (four hours or less), up from 33% in 2021. Further, 8 in 10 of these trips will last for a week or less, which could contribute to the rise in shorter-distance road trips.