As States Begin Opening Up, Survey Shows Travelers Expecting to Stay Closer to Home Over the Next Six Months

May 16, 2020

The latest findings of the Traveler Intentions Pulse Survey, conducted by MMGY Travel Intelligence, reveal just 36% of U.S. travelers intend to take a domestic leisure trip in the next six months. When asked about traveling after the pandemic subsides, the preference is to still travel domestically and closer to home. Fifty-seven percent of travelers say that following the pandemic they are more likely to book travel to U.S. destinations, and 43%  expect to travel to destinations closer to home.

Presently, approximately one-third of travelers remain committed to postponing, rather than canceling, scheduled travel for the months ahead. Activities with the longest booking windows, such as vacation rental homes and cruises, are the most likely to remain unchanged.

So just how far from home are travelers willing to go? A third of all travelers (32%) say they are willing to drive 300 miles or more (one way) to reach their vacation destinations over the next six months. Of that group, 19% report being willing to drive 500 miles or more. 

MMGY Travel Intelligence has been conducting the Traveler Intentions Pulse Survey (TIPS), commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association, since the end of March to measure the impact of COVID-19 on U.S. leisure and business travelers. The most recent results are from Wave IV of the survey, which was conducted the first week of May.

Additional key findings from Wave IV of the survey include:

    • Travelers continue to feel safest when traveling by personal vehicle (68%), and when visiting outdoor destinations such as parks (34%) and the beach (26%).

    • Overall, the likelihood to travel and stay in a hotel increases as travelers get older. However, younger travelers are more likely to engage in travel activities such as attending a concert or a sporting event during the next six months. While the youngest respondents’ (age 18–34) concerns about contracting COVID-19 declined slightly, the concern they expressed about others in their household contracting the virus increased from 63% in Wave III to 69% in Wave IV.

This survey is conducted biweekly (as of March 27, 2020) among 1,200 U.S. residents who have taken an overnight trip for either business or leisure in the past 12 months. Wave IV of the survey was conducted on May 1–6, 2020, and Wave III of the survey was conducted April 17–22, 2020. Visit MMGY Travel Intelligence’s website for the full report available here.