This is the first part in a series on Fodor’s Summer Travel Survey. You can read part two, part three, part four, and part five. Fodor’s Travel surveyed 1,527 readers through our newsletter. Want to take future Fodor’s surveys? Make your voice heard! Sign up here.
This year, summer travel will look different. Again. So we asked our readers what their plans are for this summer, and here’s what we’ve found. The Fodor’s Summer Travel Trends Survey revealed that 87% of American travelers are going to travel in the summer months, with a big chunk setting their sights on domestic destinations. However, our readers still have many concerns. From COVID-19 protocols and unruly passengers to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, there are a variety of reasons that travelers are still pretty uneasy about travel right now.
COVID-19 has ruled travel talks for more than two years and even now, it’s a big source of anxiety. In fact, 51% of readers are concerned about catching and spreading COVID-19 while traveling, making it the number one travel concern. In fact, 53% of readers would cancel their trip if the destination experienced a COVID-19 surge.
The myriad rules and protocols around traveling in the age of COVID are also a big concern–39% are worried about restrictions, which include testing requirements and travel limitations.
However, while many readers are concerned about COVID protocols, only 16% think COVID protocols are the single most annoying thing about travel right now. What’s more annoying? Flight cancelations (27%), unruly passengers (25%), and the price of travel (22%).
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Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine
Another major concern for travelers is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has set the world on edge. The occupation by the Kremlin started on February 20, 2022, and there is no end in sight. The devastation it has caused Ukraine is heartbreaking, but the country is holding firm.
Russia is a no-fly zone for many countries and airlines; therefore flights are being diverted and taking longer routes. Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war are entering neighboring European countries. Americans are apprehensive about crossing the pond to Europe due to the armed conflict, and 36% of our readers list this as a concern.
Inflation is really hurting travelers this year. The cost of fuel, flights, hotels, and other experiences is definitely a factor when people plan their summer travels. Thirty-one percent of Fodor’s readers have said inflation is a travel concern and the same percentage have said it’s already affected their travel plans. Our readers told us they’re cutting back on hotel expenses (12%), changing destinations (11%), shortening their trips (7%), and pulling back from spending on food and dining experiences (11%). Four percent of readers have had to cancel their trip.
Even with rising gas prices, 73% said they are willing to take a road trip this year. We even found how much Americans are spending on their vacations this year: 30% will be shelling out $2,501-$5,000 and 15% of respondents have a budget of over $10,000!
If you’re planning a road trip too, read about easy ways you can save gas money.
Crime and Terrorism
The topic of rising crime in America has been blasted across news channels for months, but it hasn’t caused too much anxiety among Fodor’s readers, as only 15% have listed it as a concern while traveling. And even fewer, 12%, are worried about terrorism, which is only slightly above the 11% of blissful readers who aren’t concerned about a thing.
We asked our readers what’s the most annoying thing about travel currently and more than a quarter (27%) answered flight cancelations. Since 2021, every few weeks we read about thousands of flights getting canceled and delayed, and as frustrating as the situation is, it has continued well into 2022. It’s caused major headaches to travelers who have missed connections, gotten stuck in destinations without compensation, and struggled to book new flights.
Not only can these delays be annoying, but they can also be expensive. One reader described their delayed flight on American Airlines from Guatemala City to Miami, which caused hundreds of fliers to miss their connections, many of them having to wait until morning for a new flight. “[E]veryone needed hotel rooms. The line for customer service was hours long. They overbooked all the hotels in the area so I had to Uber to three different places only to be told they were all sold out. This is at midnight with my rescheduled flight at 6 a.m. the next day. Finally, I found a hotel with a few rooms left and had to pay out of pocket since the voucher American gave me was for the first sold-out hotel. I sent the receipts in for reimbursement and they never paid me back for a $250 hotel bill.”
These constant travel delays and cancelations due to bad weather, technical issues, and labor shortages are frustrating. However, you are entitled to compensation when that happens.
While almost all of Fodor’s readers are annoyed by some aspect of travel, a mere 3.8% aren’t bothered by anything at all.