Some Interesting Stats On The “Revenge Travel” Phenomenon

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Some Interesting Stats On The “Revenge Travel” Phenomenon

It seems like revenge has been used for a few things these days.  I read about revenge bedtime procrastination a few months back and realized that I totally fall into that category.  Well, as the pandemic wore on the revenge travel moniker started to pick up popularity.  Discover did a travel survey to see where everyone was at and revenge travel seems to be here.  People seem to be ready to get out there and travel even if they don’t feel totally comfortable with the ongoing pandemic.

Travel Survey Results

After a year stuck at home, the majority of U.S. consumers, 70%, say they want to start traveling again, with more than 50% planning one to two vacations in the next six months, according to Discover’s annual travel survey. 

Following a stressful and socially distant year, 66% of consumers are planning trips between one to six days in length and report their top reasons for wanting to take a vacation are: 

  • to relax (37%)
  • visit family and friends (18%)  
  • and experience a change of scenery (10%) 

Of those looking to spend time with family, Boomers lead the charge, 28%, compared to 18% of Gen X, 12% of millennials and 9% of Gen Z. The survey found Gen Z is looking for adventure while traveling, 21%, compared to 12% of millennials, 10% of Gen X and 7% of Boomers.  

When polled in April, 42% of consumers said they already felt comfortable traveling, and 12% said they would feel comfortable traveling when vaccines were widely available to everyone in the U.S. 

Health and safety top of mind for travelers 

Eighty percent of consumers say it’s important to find travel accommodations with strict COVID-19 hygiene protocols – and it appears this trend isn’t going away. 

When asked about their thoughts about the next 6 months:
  • 74% of consumers reported they will continue to prioritize the cleanliness rating of their accommodation when deciding where to stay.
  • 50% of consumers also said they’re more likely to splurge on pricey accommodations and travel options if it means they have strict COVID-19 hygiene protocols.
  • 49% of consumers also say they are more likely to invest in priority travel passes to avoid crowds.
When it comes to wearing masks:
  • nearly two in three consumers say they will continue to wear them while traveling, even after it’s no longer required.
  • Of those wearing masks, 39% say they’ll continue to wear them in public spaces, like a hotel or resort
  • 36% say they will wear masks when at a transportation hub, such as an airport or bus station. 

Consumers favor cost-effective methods of travel that allow more control 

When deciding where to vacation:
  • 87% consumers report the cost of their destination and the flexibility of cancellation policies are the most important factors.
  • 80% said the spread of Covid-19 variants will play a role in their decisions.
  • 80% also said the number of positive Covid-19 cases in the destination area will play a factor.
When it comes to transportation:
  • 62% of consumers say they are hesitant to take modes of transportation where they have to be near others.
  • Over half of U.S. consumers are planning to drive to their next destination,
  • Only 39% reporting they’ll fly.
  • Most consumers report plans to take a road trip in the next six months at 29%
  • Beach vacation was second with 21%. 
  • 6 in 10 respondents said they were more likely to travel close to home versus taking a larger trip across country.

Credit cards are the preferred payment method 

Fifty-five percent of consumers cite credit cards as their preferred method of payment while on vacation – a 16 percentage point increase from Discover’s 2019 travel survey. 

Additionally, given the pandemic’s impact on travel and the need to avoid touching as many surfaces as possible, 56% of consumers say they will leverage contactless payments more frequently while traveling. 

With credit card points and rewards stacking up the past year, about one-third of consumers say they’re planning to redeem their rewards for vacation-related expenses. 

About the Survey 

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from a Dynata (formerly Research Now/SSI) survey conducted on behalf of Discover Financial Services. The survey was conducted online; fielded from April 23 – 28, 2021 with a total sample size of 2,000 US adults (ages 18+). The margin of sampling error was ±2 percentage points with a 90-95 percent level of confidence. The following generational breaks were used when examining the data: Gen Z (18-22), Millennials (23-38), Gen X (39-54), and Baby Boomers (55-73). 

Final Thoughts

I found these results to be pretty interesting although the data is now a few months old and may not reflect current thoughts and beliefs.  It definitely seems like more than 39% of people feel comfortable flying!

I still find it interesting that people were anxious and ready to travel even though they don’t seem overly comfortable being around others or using public transportation yet.  I think those figures will continue to trend up as vaccination numbers continue to rise and serious cases continue to fall.

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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  1. My family and I have been traveling throughout the pandemic and aside from having to wear masks it was very enjoyable not dealing with the masses. Not looking forward to normalcy. Lol.

  2. I booked revenge travel 3 months ago when I got my second shot … but I didn’t realize how far behind us most of the world was. So my September trip to Japan has been moved to May, and might get moved again. Ah well.

  3. Thanks for sharing the article on revenge bedtime procrastination. I’ve been doing that for months and it’s catching up with me now. As a mom of two young children my leisure time is at zero during the day so I need to do better on that front. I know your post wasn’t about this issue, but I appreciate the share since I gained some insight!


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