Travel Pulse | LACEY PFALZ | DECEMBER 16, 2022
Americans are incredibly eager to travel and explore, and they’re not picky about when they do it, according to a new survey of 500 travelers conducted by https://www.adventure.travel/ a division of the Adventure Travel Trade Association in partnership with adventure travel insurance provider World Nomads.
An overwhelming majority of travelers have plans to travel (94 percent), while 93 percent also say they plan on taking two or more trips in 2023. While the majority of Americans are still traveling domestically (65 percent), the rest of those surveyed mentioned they’d be visiting Europe (52 percent of international travelers), Asia (19 percent), South America (19 percent) and Mexico (15 percent).
Americans Ditch Travel Seasons, Prioritize Cost
Sixty-seven percent of travelers are most concerned about the value they get for the money they spend while traveling, but they never agreed on the best season to travel. Remote work might be a factor here, as is a greater desire to travel, despite factors like less pleasant weather during certain seasons.
Other factors they identified as important when choosing their destination were availability of locally owned accommodations or restaurants (50 percent) and the ability to walk or bike during their stay (44 percent).
“We are seeing a trend in more urban, international destinations in the coming year,” said Christina Tunnah, general manager of marketing and brands, World Nomads. “Maybe that’s due to a renewed comfort level in visiting dense population centers.
“But there are also indicators in the data that point to travelers wanting to seek out cities that are both bikeable and walkable, and cities that are in close proximity to green spaces, where within just an hour you can enjoy nature and wildlife and participate in outdoor recreation such as cycling and hiking,” said Tunnah. “What is also quite interesting is that our 2022 versus 2023 travel insurance sales data is showing a dramatic increase in Americans planning travel to truly long-haul and off the beaten path destinations such as Australia and Antarctica.”
Desire to Travel Comes from Exploration & Adventure
Americans are focusing more on exploring a destination (70 percent), experiencing nature or wildlife up close (46 percent) and relaxing/reconnecting and immersing themselves in an entirely new culture (31 percent each). About 20 percent of respondents identified adventure sports and activities, like hiking, snorkeling and more, as main drivers for traveling.
“These findings align with what we at Adventure. Travel and the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) have seen recently from the supply side of the industry,” said Jason Reckers, head of ATTA Labs and https://www.adventure.travel/
“Travel companies reporting into our 2022 Adventure Travel Industry Snapshot indicated an increase in travelers of 142 percent over the previous year. The most popular motivations for traveling were new experiences, to go off the beaten track, and to travel like a local. Seventy-three percent are seeing an improvement in domestic travel demand, and 62 percent are seeing an increase in international travel demand.”
Americans Still Have Concerns About Traveling
While travelers are more eager to explore, they’re also still cautious about the rising cost of travel and inflation’s impact on prices (64 percent). Thirty percent were still worried about COVID-19 resurging, while another 34 percent worried about global or economic instability impacting their 2023 travel plans.
Fifty-four percent of respondents are also more concerned about environmental concerns and are likely to take the environmental impact of their trips into consideration while planning them.
These concerns have led to the majority of Americans likely to opt into purchasing travel insurance, at 76 percent.
“It’s reassuring to see that the pent-up demand for travel that began in 2022 is truly starting to accelerate as we look towards 2023. However, it’s not without consumer health, safety and economic concerns. Travelers want to get back out there,” said Tunnah.
“They want to go farther afield and try new things including active and adventure pursuits, but they also see the need to protect their vacation investment with travel insurance. Yes, they also want to seek out more sustainable ways to travel, but no doubt the value for money proposition will weigh heavily on decisions. Tour operators, airlines and hotels all need to consider how to offer sustainable options without passing along significant additional costs to the consumer.”
Jim Hepple is an Assistant Professor at the University of Aruba and is Managing Director of Tourism Analytics.