What Covid & inflation mean for summer travel

FeaturedHealth & FitnessMoneyTravel

Written by:

 

After more than two years of limited travel due to COVID-19, many are eager to enjoy a summer vacation. According to MoneyGeek’s recent survey, 46% of people in the U.S. plan to take at least one trip. Even with climbing COVID-19 case numbers and soaring costs, summer travel seems to be a priority.

 

Here’s what MoneyGeek’s survey of 1,125 respondents found about travel plans for this year as they relate to the pandemic, spending habits and rising prices across the country.

______________________

SPONSORED: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

1. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn't have to be hard. SmartAsset's free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes.

2. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you're ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals get started now.

______________________

 

 

 

 

KEY FINDINGS:

  • 46% of respondents who took a vacation last year expect to spend more on travel this summer. The average respondent planned to pay $1,000 per household member.
  • Rising costs have already caused 39% of respondents to cancel or change their vacation plans. Another 36% indicated they would consider canceling their plans if prices continue to increase.
  • Younger travelers are more price-sensitive, while older vacationers are more COVID-conscious. Millennials and Gen X were more likely to consider changing their summer plans due to increasing prices; older generations were more likely to cancel their vacations due to COVID-19 exposure or case surges.
  • 51% of respondents plan to wear masks on planes, trains and other public transit while traveling. However, planned COVID-19 precautions vary significantly. For example, 46% of respondents indicated rising COVID-19 cases would make them consider canceling vacation, while 48% stated they wouldn’t cancel or change their plans after known exposure to the virus.
  • On average, travelers plan to charge 57% of their vacation expenses to credit cards, and younger generations prefer to use credit card rewards to pay for these expenses. This year’s most popular expected use of points is to cover hotel and lodging stays.

Despite Concerns, Summer Travel Is a Priority

Although the domestic travel industry saw a two-year loss of $755 billion through 2021, according to the U.S. Travel Association, the sentiment for 2022 is optimistic. This optimism is notable amidst rising inflation rates, as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 

Could this be the return of summer travel post-COVID-19? MoneyGeek’s survey results indicated that 46% of U.S. adults planned to take at least one trip this year, and 37% planned to take two. Of those planning to take a trip this year, 8% didn’t travel last summer.

 

Older Generations Worried About COVID-19; Younger Generations, Costs

MoneyGeek’s survey results revealed some stark generational differences in summer travel concerns.

 

Throughout the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has warned that older, unvaccinated adults are at greater risk of hospitalization or death due to COVID-19. Consistent with this data, MoneyGeek survey results indicated that 51% of U.S. adults over the age of 57 would cancel or change their plans due to COVID-19 case surges. This percentage is higher for older adults than younger adults; among individuals younger than 57, only 45% reported that they would alter their travel plans because of increased COVID-19 cases.

 

MoneyGeek’s survey results also revealed that 46% of respondents expect to spend more on their vacation this year than last summer. But, as suggested by a recent Wells Fargo study on inflation, Millennials and Gen X are the hardest hit by rising prices.

This economic reality could explain why MoneyGeek’s survey indicates that 41% of respondents in each of these age groups would cancel or change their plans due to the increasing cost of travel, compared to just 30% of respondents aged 57 and older.

Travel plan changes graphic

Overall, 36% of U.S. adults indicated they would consider canceling their vacation plans if prices continue to rise, and 39% said that rising costs had already caused them to cancel or change their plans. Rising gas prices were of concern to the highest percentage of respondents (40%), followed by airfare (28%) and lodging (15%) expenses.

 

Most Concerning Increasing Travel Costs

When asked what travel expenses they were most worried about paying because of rising costs, the four most popular responses among respondents were gas, airfare, lodging and rental cars.

  • Gas: 40%
  • Airfare: 28%
  • Lodging: 15%
  • Car Rentals: 10%

COVID-19 Is Now a Reality of Travel

As the domestic leisure travel industry continues to recover, COVID-19 safety measures are a reality of travel. MoneyGeek’s survey results point out that 78% of U.S. adults will take some form of COVID-19-related precautions while traveling during the summer. But the way people plan to protect themselves varies greatly.

 

For example, 51% of respondents will wear a mask on planes, trains and buses — even if there are no mandates in place. Additionally, 41% will ensure they’re up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters before travel.

 

On the other hand, 22% of U.S. adults don’t plan to take any specific precautions while traveling this summer. Less than half of survey participants said they would change or cancel their plans after known COVID-19 exposure. These results come despite current CDC recommendations to quarantine and avoid travel for 5–10 days after close contact with someone who had COVID-19.

 

Covid 19 and travel

Amid Rising Costs, Credit Cards Are a Popular Tool to Finance Trips

Given the current economic situation, it’s perhaps unsurprising that most respondents (57%) planned to pay for some of their 2022 summer vacation costs with a credit card. For some, credit card rewards also offer the opportunity to afford rising travel expenses this year, though 38% of U.S. adults reported that they didn’t plan to redeem credit card rewards for travel.

 

Younger generations seemed to utilize credit card rewards more frequently; in fact, MoneyGeek’s survey showed that 71% of Millennials and Gen Z plan to redeem credit card rewards and loyalty program points, compared to just 57% of Gen X respondents, 53% Boomer respondents and 47% of respondents aged 67 or older.

 

Hotel stays were the most popular credit card reward respondents planned to redeem during their summer vacations.

 

MoneyGeek Expert Tip

 

Using the right travel credit card can help you save money on your vacation costs. Depending on how often you travel, you may benefit from an airline rewards credit card that offers frequent flyer points or allows you to take advantage of cash back offers. If you’re looking for ways to save on your vacation, these are the nine best rewards credit cards you can use for travel.

 

Most respondents plan to redeem their points in exchange for hotel and lodging, while 28% will use rewards to help pay for airfare.

 

Most Popular Credit Card Rewards for Summer Travel

When asked which credit card rewards they planned to redeem to help pay for summer travel, the four most popular rewards selected were hotel stays, airfare, meals and rental cars. Note that respondents were able to select all rewards they planned to redeem.

  • Hotel Stays: 37%
  • Airfare: 28%
  • Meals: 24%
  • Rental Cars: 18%

As people adapt the way they travel and the pandemic continues to evolve, these survey findings could suggest new industry trends. Even with ongoing inflation in the U.S., people are still interested in traveling, and credit cards could become an important tool to finance this year’s summer vacations.

Methodology

MoneyGeek surveyed 1,125 planning on taking a vacation this summer, representative of gender, age and income demographics of the United States.

 

This article originally appeared on MoneyGeek.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org

 

More from MediaFeed:

7 ways to sleep better with COVID-19

 

In October, when my husband (who works at a university) tested positive for COVID-19 after a standard protocol screening, we were surprised. After all, neither of us felt sick. But in the days that followed, so did symptoms, for both of us: a general flu-like feeling, fatigue, and—in time—a loss of smell and taste. I tested positive a few days later.

While I was grateful to have a mild case, the infection took the joy out of eating (with no ability to taste or smell, so much of the allure is lost), it made small tasks (like taking the trash out) difficult, and the fatigue made me want to do nothing but stay in bed and sleep.

But as anyone who’s ever been sick with any infection knows, being sick doesn’t always go hand-in-hand with solid rest—and that’s true with COVID-19 as well.

And that can be problematic. The effects of poor sleep and a lack of sleep are vast and serious, ranging from feeling sluggish to an increased risk for other serious health conditions.

“Prolonged sleep deprivation can lead to a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and depression, which is one of the many reasons why it’s so important to prioritize proper rest,” says Carlos M. Nunez, MD, board-certified anesthesiologist and chief medical officer at ResMed.

Nunez also notes poor sleep has been linked to a weakened immune system, which invites other viruses and severe illnesses to thrive in your body.

So how does COVID-19, in particular, impact sleep—and how can you make sure you’re getting the rest you need if you become infected? Here’s what you need to know.

 

klebercordeiro / istockphoto

 

In short, the disease impacts sleep in many ways.

For one, a COVID-19 infection, much like any other viral infection, makes you feel fatigued and weak. “Weakness leads to low energy levels and thus, sleeping more than usual,” says Nikola Djordjevic, MD, a medical advisor at HealthCareers.

It’s a side effect I can personally relate to as multiple nights during my infection, I slept 12 hours at a time, feeling as though I couldn’t simply stay up past 8 p.m. or so.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

“Sleeping is actually an effective part of the body’s natural recovery process,” explains Djordjevic. “Various studies have shown that sleeping improves the functioning of the body’s immune system, speeding up recovery time.”

In fact, the American Sleep Association (ASA) notes that one of the best things you can do if infected with COVID-19 (or any virus for that matter) is to get lots of sleep.

Of course, that can be easier said than done. “Fatigue, cough, and congestion are prominent symptoms of COVID-19 and can interfere with your sleep,” Djordjevic says.

There’s also another element to coronavirus that can negatively impact how well you rest: the stress and anxiety that comes along with the pandemic—whether you’re infected and are worried about how sick you’ll get or whether or not you’ll infect someone else, or if you just have general anxiety about the pandemic.

Look no further than the term “coronasomnia,” which describes the difficulty sleeping many are having as it related to the pandemic, for proof. One National Institutes of Health report even found that rates of insomnia as well as acute levels of stress, anxiety, and depression, are on the rise.

“Besides physical weakness, COVID-19 can cause mental stress and anxiety that can make sleeping difficult or outright impossible,” notes Djordjevic. “The fear of getting serious symptoms and infecting other people is already stressful, not to mention actually being infected.”

As for longer-lasting impacts on sleep? It’s hard to say for sure what they could be.

“We won’t know what the long-term effects will be—if any—until enough time has passed to accurately study what those may be,” says Nunez. “If we define the long-term effects as those that are present one year or more after the acute infection has run its course, then we can expect to see the first meaningful cohorts of these patients being studied in the spring and summer of 2021.”

 

istockphoto

 

While there are still many unknowns when it comes to the coronavirus, there are ways to take some things into your own hands to (hopefully) feel a bit better, reduce the spread, and get the rest you need.

Here are some small and simple changes to sleep better throughout the pandemic.

 

DepositPhotos.com

 

First and foremost, if you have COVID-19—or think you do—it’s important to touch base with your doctor, notes Nunez. They can help you come up with sleep solutions that address your specific needs and help get your health back on track, he says.

They can also help you ensure that any sleep issues you might be having are indeed COVID-related (and not due to another issue such as sleep apnea), he says.

 

nensuria / istockphoto

 

If you or someone in your home gets infected with COVID-19, you want to try to prevent the spread throughout the house as best you can.

One way to do this, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)? Setting up what’s called a “sick room”—a bedroom or area where the infected person stays (stocked with things like water, tissues, blankets, towels, hand sanitizer, and anything else they might need).

Having the person who’s infected stay in this space can reduce the spread of the disease as much as possible, the group notes.

 

franz12 / istockphoto

 

Doing so in hot water and drying on high heat can help you sidestep virus transmission in your home, per the ASA. (Here’s our guide to cleaning every type of bedding.)

 

nito100 / istockphoto

 

A cool-mist humidifier can help relieve nasal congestion and open the air passageways, explains Djordjevic. Taking a shower with hot water, meanwhile, can help relax your muscles and improve sleep.

 

aapsky / istockphoto

 

Turn off your laptop, tablet, and phones before bed. The blue light emitted by these devices can interfere with melatonin, the sleep-regulating hormone, keeping you alert instead of allowing your body to naturally shut down for the night, says Djordjevic. Keep lights dim and the room quiet too, he suggests.

 

DepositPhotos.com

 

If you work from home, don’t work from your bedroom to avoid associating any stress to it, says Djordjevic. Having set spaces in your home—for sleep, work, and play, for example—can help you identify different places with different activities.

 

DepositPhotos.com

 

“Relaxing activities such as reading, listening to soothing music, or painting or coloring can help relieve stress and anxiety, thus promoting better sleep, says Djordjevic. “Meditation, even for a few minutes per day, is one of the best ways of calming down and keeping anxiety at bay.”

For more advice on sleeping while sick, here are our best tips for sleeping with a stuffy nose and dealing with a nighttime cough.

 

This article originally appeared on Saatva.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

 

goo.gl/73nyq6/ istockphoto

 

Featured Image Credit: zoff-photo/iStock.

AlertMe