Washington DC, February 1, 2023
Americans’ upcoming travel plans and where travel falls in budget priorities
- Just over half of all Americans (52%) are planning to travel for leisure purposes in the next 6 months. A similar share of Americans (59%) report traveling for leisure purposes in 2022.
- 3 in 5 Gen Xers plan to travel for leisure in the next six months (61%), significantly more than Gen Zers or Millennials.
- Voters are also significantly more likely to have upcoming leisure travel plans compared to those who did not vote in the past three elections (62% vs. 36%, respectively).
- About 1 in 4 Americans (23%) plan to travel more for leisure in 2023 than they did in 2022, while a small majority (51%) are planning to travel the same amount.
- Relatedly, about 2 in 5 Americans (39%) say their spending on leisure travel will not change in the next three months, while 19% say their spending will increase.
- Voters are significantly more likely to report they will be increasing their spending on leisure travel in the next three months (22%), than are non-voters (15%), though the majority of both groups do not intend to increase spending on travel.
- A plurality of Americans are concerned about their finances, with 49% rating their current financial status as average or below. When asked where leisure travel falls in their saving priorities for 2023, under one quarter (22%) say leisure travel will be a top priority in their personal budget for 2023.
- Voters are slightly more likely than non-voters to report travel will be a main priority in their budgets for the upcoming year (25% vs 16%, respectively).
- Despite being low on the priority list for saving, Americans do show interest in leisure travel. Over one quarter of Americans (29%) say they like to travel and plan leisure trips when possible, though it is not a high priority in the budget. Additionally, if given a lump sum of $2,500, similar to the value of the average tax return, leisure travel does fall within the top three areas Americans would spend this money, coming in as a third priority behind home improvements and savings.
Leisure travel experiences and what would encourage Americans to travel more
- About 1 in 10 Americans who have traveled by air rate the overall travel experience of their most recent leisure trips by air as excellent (13%). Two in five rate their experience as good (41%), while the largest share (45%) rate it as average or below.
- The specific factors rated the lowest from their most recent travel experience include length of time getting through security (58% rating as average or below), in-flight comfort (68% rating as average or below), the experience within the airport once through security (50% rating as average or below), and the process of checking a bag (50% rating as average or below)
- Americans who are currently enrolled in an expedited airport clearance program such as TSA PreCheck or CLEAR are significantly more likely to rate their experience with the length of time getting through security better than those not enrolled in the program. 54% of those enrolled rate their experience as good or excellent, compared to 35% of those not enrolled.
- The same is true for experiences within the airport once through security and the process of checking a bag – significantly more Americans enrolled in PreCheck or CLEAR rate their experiences with these processes as good or excellent (57% for experience in airport, 62% for process of checking a bag), compared to those not enrolled (47% for experience in airport, 45% for process of checking a bag).
- Americans who have traveled by air with a less than excellent experiences primarily cited crowding and congestion (58%), flight delays or cancellations (44%), the airport security process (31%), and cumbersome travel logistics (31%) as the top three contributing factors to their less than excellent travel experience. When asked to elaborate
- Personal financial reasons are the primary reason Americans say they have not travelled more by air in the past 6 months (38%), followed by health concerns about COVID, flu, or RSV (24%), the possibility of flight cancellations or delays (17%), and preferring to drive to their destination (17%). Those who do not have upcoming leisure travel planned also list personal financial reasons as the main contributor (45%), followed by disinterest or lack of reason to travel (40%)
- Baby boomers are significantly more likely to cite health concerns as a deterrent to travel in the past six months than are millennials (29% and 18%, respectively).
- Additionally, non-voters are significantly more likely to cite personal financial reasons (48%) than are voters (33%).
- The top three factors all Americans say would encourage them to travel more by air in the next six months are increased flight availabilities and direct flight options (31%) and travel discounts or loyalty programs (29%).
- For their upcoming leisure travel, business travelers are most interested in increasing flight availability and direct flights (43%), and travel discounts and loyalty programs (33%). They are also significantly more likely to want flexible cancellation policies (32%).
- Few Americans are benefitting from the speed and convenience of expedited airport clearance programs like TSA PreCheck/Global Entry or CLEAR. Just 17% are currently enrolled in TSA PreCheck and even fewer are enrolled in CLEAR (3%). One third of Americans (33%) say they are not aware of TSA PreCheck and almost double that number say they are not aware of CLEAR (65%).
- More than one third (35%) of Business Travelers are enrolled TSA PreCheck and nine percent (9%) are enrolled in CLEAR.
- About half of all Americans say they would be comfortable sharing biometric data such as fingerprints, facial recognition, etc. with TSA for a more seamless, secure, and efficient travel experience. Specifically, Americans say they are comfortable with biometrics to board a plane (52%), get through airport security (52%), check in for a flight (51%), for touchless ticketing technology (50%), or to check their bags (47%).
- Voters are significantly more likely to support biometric data being used to improve travel security and efficiency on all measures, compared to those who did not vote in the past three elections.
- Business Travelers are the most supportive of biometric data uses for travel security and efficiency
Business Travel Decision Making
- Less than one quarter of employed Americans have an upcoming business trip planned in the next 6 months (22%). The majority of employed Americans do not travel for business (61%). About one third travel once a quarter to once a year (31%), while fewer than 1 in 10 employed Americans report traveling for business once a month or more (8%).
- Americans show some level of interest in “bleisure travel” with 11% saying they are prioritizing trips that mix business travel with leisure travel in 2023.
- Most Americans with business travel planned in the next six months also have leisure travel planned in the same time frame (81%).
- Millennials show the most amount of interest in “bleisure travel” (18%), significantly more than Gen Xers (11%) or Baby Boomers (6%).
- Besides cost, past and future business travelers say their primary decision-making factor when booking business trips are direct flight options (48%), flight availability (45%), and flexible booking and cancellation policies (26%).
- When asked what has prevented them from traveling more for business in the past six months, past and future business travelers say too much work to justify travel (24%), health concerns related to COVID, flu, or RSV (20%), and restrictive company travel policies are the top reasons (16%).
- To encourage them to book more business travel in the next six months, American business travelers would like to see companies’ encouraging travel for client meetings or conferences (39%), increased flight availability and direct flight options (33%), and an increased demand from clients for in-person meetings (30%).
About the Study
This Ipsos Poll was conducted on behalf of the U.S. Travel Association January 13 - January 22, 2022, by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel® – a division of Ipsos. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,189 general population adults age 18 or older. The sample includes 84 Gen Z respondents (ages 18-25), 280 Millennial respondents (ages 26-41), 271 Gen X respondents (ages 42 to 55), 554 Baby Boomer respondents (ages 56+), 868 voters in past three elections, and 324 past or future business travelers.
The survey was conducted using the web-enabled KnowledgePanel®, which is the largest and most well-established online panel that is representative of the adult US population. Our recruitment process employs a scientifically developed addressed-based sampling methodology using the latest Delivery Sequence File of the USPS – a database with full coverage of all delivery points in the US. Households are randomly selected from all available households in the U.S. Persons in these households are invited to join and participate in the web-enabled KnowledgePanel®. For those potential panel members who do not already have internet access, Ipsos provides a tablet and internet connection at no cost to the panel member. Those who join the panel and who are selected to participate in a survey are sent a unique password-protected log-in used to complete surveys online. As a result of our recruitment and sampling methods, samples from KnowledgePanel cover all households regardless of their phone or internet status and provide fully representative online samples to the research community.
The study was conducted in English only. The data were weighted to adjust by age, race, education, household income, Census region, metro status, business traveler, and leisure traveler. The demographic benchmarks came from the 2022 March supplement of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS). The business and leisure travel benchmarks came from the weighted main sample only. The weighting categories were as follows:
- Age (18-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64, 65+) by Gender (Male, Female)
- Race (White/Non-Hispanic, Black/Non-Hispanic, Other/Non-Hispanic, Hispanic, 2+ Races/Non-Hispanic)
- Education (Less than HS, HS graduate, Some College, Bachelor or higher)
- Household Income (Under $25,000, $25,000-$49,999, $50,000-$74,999, $75,000-$99,999, $100,000-$149,999, $150,000 and over)
- Region (Northeast, Midwest, South, West)
- Metro status (Metro, non-Metro)
- Business traveler (Yes, No)
- Leisure traveler (Yes, No)
The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.20 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults. The margin of sampling error takes into account the design effect, which was 1.29. The margin of sampling error is higher and varies for results based on sub-samples. In our reporting of the findings, percentage points are rounded off to the nearest whole number. As a result, percentages in a given table column may total slightly higher or lower than 100%. In questions that permit multiple responses, columns may total substantially more than 100%, depending on the number of different responses offered by each respondent.
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