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Americans Are Postponing Travel Plans For 2021

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A recent survey by Longwoods International highlighted the continued disruption the COVID-19 pandemic is causing to travel plans in 2021. The survey showed that many American travelers are postponing vacations until later next year, and expect to have to change their travel plans as a result of the pandemic.

The survey shows the long-lasting impact on travel caused by the virus and numerous travel restrictions in place across the world to contain it. Even with the beginning of vaccination programs offering a light at the end of the tunnel for travelers, many Americans remain wary of booking trips over coming months due to continued safety concerns and potential for new restrictions to disrupt travel plans.

woman holding american flag on beach

Pandemic Continues To Impact Travel Plans

The results of the latest survey by Longwoods International, conducted from a panel of 1,000 American adults from December 16-20, are a clear sign that the pandemic will continue to impact travel plans well into 2021. The survey shows that Americans are still concerned about the safety of travel during the pandemic as well as the potential for plans to be disrupted at short notice.

plane landing at portland airport

One of the main aims of the survey, which has been conducted regularly throughout the pandemic, is to show how Americans plan to travel in the next six months. In the latest poll, over 50% of respondents said that they did not plan to travel in the first half of next year, with 23% saying they planned to travel between June and August, while 26% were still undecided on when they would take their next vacation.

beach on the yucatan peninsula, Mexico

These figures highlight the continued confusion and uncertainty that the pandemic has caused for travelers, with various travel restrictions, different entry requirements and last-minute changes to rules making it very difficult for people to plan vacations. Even though the percentage of Americans not planning to travel in the next six months is at the lowest figure since the start of the pandemic in March, the survey results show that travel plans will continue to be affected next year.

This was indicated by 72% of respondents claiming that COVID would change their travel plans for 2021, with 47% saying that they were reducing their travel plans and 41% saying they would cancel trips entirely over the next six months as a result of the pandemic. Health concerns also remain an issue despite the efforts of airlines to prove their safety credentials, with 29% of respondents to the survey saying that they would change their vacation destination to somewhere they could drive to rather than flying.  

This suggests that more efforts will need to be made by airlines and the tourism industry to ensure that travelers feel safe while flying, potentially with better-integrated COVID-19 testing and health screening and more public information on safety measures adopted on flights to reduce the risk of the virus being transmitted.

Vaccinations Offer Hope But Travelers Will Need To Be Patient

Another key finding of the survey is that a growing number of Americans say that they will not travel until a COVID-19 vaccine is available, with 46% of respondents agreeing with this, up from 36% one month ago. This highlights how the vaccines are providing a light at the end of the tunnel for both travelers and the tourist industry alike, with the rolling out of a vaccination programme meaning an end to the pandemic is finally in sight and international travel can begin to return to normal.

Beach in Cancun, Mexico (1)

However, while this offers some hope for travel in 2021, the vaccination process is not likely to be complete until the end of next year at the earliest, with travelers relatively low on the priority list for inoculation against the virus. Until then, other measures such as pre-flight testing, health screenings and social distancing are likely to be required for travel to many destinations. Consequently, international travel is still likely to face hurdles as we move into the new year, and Americans will have to remain patient when planning vacations in 2021.

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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories


Wednesday 23rd of December 2020

At this point, I am basically waiting until airlines will offer pre-flight testing at the airport, with printed results before boarding. That's going to be important in terms of EASE, given that there are so many countries with quick, printed results needed. I'd rather go to the airport six hours early, be tested, have lunch, get my results printed, and board my flight. There is zero reason this should not be gold standard for every airline.