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Post COVID-19 Travel Trends Focus on Road Trips and Safety

Travel Team | Jan 27, 2023

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While shelter-in-place orders begin to untie, individuals and industries are wondering what the future for travel will look like in this COVID era. Travel consumers and the travel industry are mindful of the fact that reopening will be complicated. After all, interstate and international travel can contribute to the spread of the virus. 


So, how do we start traveling again in this COVID era? What will be the new normal in consumer travel? What are would-be travelers thinking about how to travel successfully with the safety we all seek? 

To gain perspective on the answers to these questions and more, Seven Corners surveyed travel consumers to explore the impact COVID-19 has had on current and future travel trends. 

Consumer Confidence in Travel has been Negatively Impacted

Chances are you or someone you know had travel plans affected to some extent by COVID-19. Every industry has been touched by the virus in some capacity. However, with strict distancing policies, closed country boarders, and travel bans, the travel industry has been halted, affecting travelers all over the world. In fact, 75% of our survey respondents had to modify or cancel personal travel plans due to the pandemic. 

Additionally, some participants experienced difficulties for multiple trips. This was reflected in the survey, with 19% of respondents altering personal travel plans for two trips, and 12% making modifications for three or more trips. 

Survey results showing disruption of travel during the novel Coronavirus.

Additionally, concerns with certain types of travel have developed and/or increased. Specifically, comfort levels with domestic air, international air, and cruise ship travel have dropped 34%, 36%, and 39% respectively from pre-pandemic levels. 

Meanwhile, road trip travel retained the highest comfort score with only a 15% shift in comfort levels.   

Frequent travelers' comfort with travel pre-pandemic and post-pandemic.

Road Trip Travel Will Increase

With concerns about the safety (cleanliness) of airline and cruise travel, road tripping will become the new norm for the foreseeable future. 

Half of participants plan to travel by automobile, motorcycle, or RV for their next vacation. Not surprisingly, 38% of survey participants are more likely to consider a drivable vacation now than they would have prior to the pandemic. 

Chart showing the liklihood of people to opt for a drivabl, scenic vacation this summer.

It makes sense, as  road trips allow travelers the independence to control the distance they keep from others, choose each location they visit, and make changes to their destination at a moment’s notice in this unpredictable time.

“I used to travel at least every other month by train, hotel, and public transport to big cities like New York and Chicago. I can’t see me doing that anytime in the future. Thinking about buying an RV and going to state parks.”

Future Travel will Remain Similar in Scale 

Despite financial woes that are affecting a large percentage of the population, most consumers predict future vacations will be similar in cost and price to pre-pandemic trips. 

Chart depicting what travelers are willing to spend on their next trip.

And almost 70% say of respondents will spend the same amount of time on their next vacation post pandemic as they would have spent in the pre-pandemic vacation zone.

Survey results showing people are more likely to take a longer vacation post-Coronavirus pandemic.

Safety and Cleanliness are Even More Important 

When talking about future travel in this COVID era, survey respondents shared that safety and cleanliness rank as the most important factors to plan future trips. 

This is not surprising as the fear of contracting or spreading COVID-19 ranked as the number one concern for all survey participants when asked about their biggest worries regarding future travel. 

Other concerns in order of importance include losing money if they needed to cancel their trip, limited availability of activities at their destination, being stranded at their destination, and having to self-isolate upon return from a trip. 

Stakeholders, companies, and brands within the travel industry will be faced with strong consumer expectations that they provide safety, cleanliness for consumers, and preparation for the future.

“[When I travel] to see precautions such as hand sanitizer, wipes, or regular cleanings would give comfort.”

It won’t just be travelers adding masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer to their packing list. Travelers are looking for companies and brands to prioritize the safety and health of their consumers as well.

Cleanliness of facilities is a crucial factor for liklihood of traveling.

The Appetite for Travel Insurance

Without a vaccine for COVID-19, there is an increased appetite for travel insurance, with 53% of respondents being more likely to purchase travel insurance for future travels. 

More specifically, 47% of them are interested in buying road trip insurance to address any medical types of issues that could affect getting children, passengers, pets, and vehicles returned home safe and sound. 

Most people don’t anticipate problems to occur on their adventure; however, many travel consumers in the COVID era will be exploring new trends and modes of travel to which they are not accustomed. Ensuring peace of mind for new adventures with travel insurance will allow travelers to focus on their wanderlust while exploring new places, adventuring in safety.  

Looking Ahead 

Our research indicates that when it comes to travel, the audience’s opinions, attitudes, and behaviors have been fundamentally shifted by COVID-19. For many, the gravity of how a global event or emergency can have personal and large-scale effects is now a daily reality. From rescheduled family visits to cancelled cruises to worries for the safety of self and loved ones, COVID-19 has introduced a new risk mindset.

But for many travel industry consumers, being stuck in one place is horrible. When they feel it’s safe to travel, they’ll leap at the chance, but they’ll want to do so safely. This might mean bringing PPE on flights or sticking to in-country road trips.

For Seven Corners, consumers are ready for services and products that help them get used to the “new normal” — and enjoy their freedom (safely) once again.

Considering road trip insurance for your next vacation?Try ARMOR — It’s a new kind of road trip insurance →

*Methodology: The findings shared above are the result of a poll conducted on behalf of Seven Corners, Inc. by LEAP Agency, LLC. For this survey, a sample of 402 Americans participated. Participants were 40% male and 60% female. Ages 18 through 65 were represented.  

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