Feeling the Strain? A Look at American Travelers’ Current Financial Sentiment

Be it inflation, rising gas prices or other economic concerns, some financial strain is beginning to be evident in American travel sentiment.

If you are like all the travel industry professionals we’ve heard from recently, you are probably thinking (or worrying) about the potential impact of surging gas prices, inflation and other economic-related issues on travel. And you are smart to be. As an example, in the nearly two decades we have conducted an ongoing study of American travelers, gas prices have been a top indicator of American travel sentiment (save for the height of the COVID pandemic period, of course). When gas prices drop, Americans’ optimism about their travel rises, and the inverse. Here’s what our latest research on American travelers finds about the current situation.

American Travelers’ Financial Sentiment

While 41.2% of American travelers still agree now is a good–or very good–time to spend on travel and 61.5% continue to say that travel will be a high budget priority over the next three months, be it due to inflation or gas prices, some financial strain is beginning to be evident in American travel sentiment, including:

  • The percent of American travelers with at least one leisure trip planned in the next 12 months dropped six points in the last month to 87.2%
  • American travelers who feel that they/their household will be financially better off a year from now has dropped to 39.2% from 45.1% at the end of January
  • Expectations to travel more (35.9%) and spend more on travel (36.7%) this year compared to last year have both dipped.
  • The amount that Americans estimate they will spend on their travel this year fell to $3,788 from $4,283 reported the week of February 14th.
  • 58.5% of American travelers say travel prices are too high right now.
  • One-third of American travelers (33.6%) report that high travel prices have kept them from traveling in the past month.
  • You can download a summary of findings related to American travelers’ financial wellness here.

    If you need these and other insights custom to your destination or audience, please feel welcome to reach out for options. And don’t forget to register for our next webinar where we will cover all the latest findings on American travel trends, as well as take a deeper dive into Gen Z, hearing directly from this newest generation of independent travelers!

    *We would like to extend love to Ukraine and people being impacted by war–We hope for imminent peace.

    NOTE: The findings above are brought to you from our independent research, which is not sponsored, conducted or influenced by any advertising or marketing agency. Since March 15, 2020, Destination Analysts has surveyed American travelers about their thoughts, feelings, perceptions and behaviors surrounding travel—specifically in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic—and explored a variety of topics. The key findings presented below represent data from 1,200 American travelers collected February 23-25, 2022.

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