The holiday season is typically one of the biggest travel moments of the year, but with COVID-19 still active in the U.S., a recent survey by Travelocity® finds that almost 60% of Americans report they won’t be traveling to see friends and family this year and of those, nearly one-in-three said they won’t celebrate the holidays at all. However, that doesn’t mean they’re staying home this winter, either.
The Travelocity 2020 Holiday Outlook survey1, conducted in mid-September, found that some travelers are feeling optimistic when it comes to leisure travel for the remainder of the year. One-in-four respondents said they have a personal vacation planned later this year, and nearly half of family travelers (45%) with kids under the age of 18 are taking a leisure trip before the year’s end.
“It’s going to be a nontraditional holiday season this year, so families are gearing up to make the most of it by planning a holiday away from home and using their vacation days to travel,” says Katie Junod, General Manager at Travelocity. “Our survey found that 80% of travelers who have taken a trip since the start of COVID-19 rated their experience as excellent or good, and that’s given them the confidence to plan that next vacation at a time when they need a break from at-home school and work.”
Thanksgiving, Christmas Travel Outlook
Those who are planning to travel this holiday season are getting a head start. Almost two-thirds of holiday-goers say they’ve already booked transportation and lodging for Thanksgiving or December holidays, upending the last-minute travel trend that Travelocity reported throughout the spring and summer in the wake of COVID-19. Another 20% plan to book their holiday travel in October before the November election.
Based on survey results and demand data, Travelocity is predicting the following holiday travel trends:
Stay at a Hotel this Holiday: More travelers (43%) say they plan to stay at a hotel or vacation rental this year, with hotels being the slightly more popular option.
Get Road Trip Ready: Nearly 80% of respondents plan to drive for November and December holidays, and one in five will fly.
Pack for a Long Weekend: Holiday travelers say they’ll stay through the long weekend. More than half (53%) plan to stay between 1-4 days opposed to shorter day trips.
Celebrate Close to Home: Two-thirds of holiday-makers plan to travel 250 miles or less.
How-To Holiday Away from Home
For anyone planning travel this fall and winter – whether it be a trip home for the holidays or elsewhere – Travelocity is sharing its top tips to travel with confidence during COVID-19.
Keep travel plans flexible: The controlled spread of COVID-19 in a travelers’ origin or destination is now the top consideration in determining whether to travel. Because travel plans can change, search for hotels with free cancellation and flights without change fees.
Find hotels using enhanced cleaning filters: One-third of travelers say that safe accommodations at their travel destination will determine whether or not they travel this holiday season. Travelocity provides an enhanced cleaning search filter to make finding hotels and activities easy.
Search for flights with safety in mind: More than half of travelers who booked flights this holiday season (53%) said they are worried about flying right now. With new flight badging on Travelocity.com, it’s easy to know which airlines require masks, temperature checks and more.
Even though Travelocity’s survey found that this holiday season will be different than in years past, Junod says holiday spirits are still high. “Two-thirds of respondents said they’ve been able to travel to see friends and family since COVID-19 started, and almost half say they’re feeling happy and calm about the upcoming holiday season.”
For holiday vacation ideas for the whole family and COVID-19 travel tips and planning tools, visit Travelocity.com.
Travelocity encourages travelers to Wander Wisely™ and is dedicated to championing the customer by making the travel experience both simple and memorable through exceptional customer service, expert advice and guaranteed value. Based in Dallas, Texas, Travelocity is owned by Expedia Group, one of the world’s leading travel companies, with an extensive brand portfolio that includes many of the world’s leading online travel brands.
1 Travelocity “2020 Holiday Travel Outlook” online survey among 1,016 U.S. adults fielded September 18-21, 2020.