Revenge travel stats: who’s doing it and for how much

Companies had a hard time getting employees to take vacation time last year due to the ongoing pandemic and workers’ hesitance to travel. Recently, some companies announced plans to pay employees cash to get them to get away from their laptops and to use those vacation days.

The surprising move may not be needed after all; vacation-starved employees are planning their big breaks this summer — spurring what many experts believe will be the start of “revenge travel.”

Half of American adults are likely to take at least one vacation this summer, according to a new survey by The Points Guy and Healthline Media. The rise in summer travel — when practically no one wanted to go anywhere in 2020 — shouldn’t come as a surprise as Americans continue to get vaccinated, which enables them to travel with less restrictions.

To celebrate much-needed summer getaways, Americans plan to spend big to make up for lost time. For most, these vacations will be the first since 2019 — and nearly half or prospective travelers said they plan to spend more than $1,000 on their summer vacations.

What is “revenge travel” — and what to expect this summer

This sudden change in mindset toward travel has many preparing what is being called “revenge travel.”

“‘Revenge travel’ refers to the idea that there will be a huge increase in travel as it becomes safer and things open back up,” Eric Jones, co-founder of The Vacationer, told The Huffington Post. “Many Americans and those around the world had their vacations altered or outright canceled last year, so they are all looking to satisfy their travel itch at the same time. The term is also retribution against COVID-19 and how it is losing its power to control our lives, including canceling travel plans.”

The key behind the uptick in travel relies around Americans making up for lost time in 2020. While many opted for closer destinations, such as hiking and local beaches, experts said revenge travel is the “response to pent-up travel demand.”

The trend isn’t expected to end any time soon, either. TSA has already seen record-number of travelers return since pandemic lows, causing a hiring boom in anticipation for the summer and beyond, the report says.

The trend seems to point in the direction of time spent outdoors. With people cooped up for much of last year, experts say places that can be explored safely massless will once again be targeted destinations of those revenge travelers.

“People are most excited to revenge travel to places where they can spend a lot of time outdoors without a mask,” said Jones. “This includes beaches, places with a lot of hiking such as national and state parks, and camping destinations. COVID-19 is thought to spread far less outside compared to indoors, so a beach vacation or camping trip still allows for adequate social distancing.

The Points Guy study said that nearly half of people that are planning a summer vacation said they want to take a road trip; 39% said they planned to see national and state parks; 38% wanted beaches; 28% said outdoor events; 23% said camping.

Some will wait to travel

Despite the anticipation for better days ahead, not everyone is planning on getting away this summer.

Forty-one percent of people from the survey said they can’t afford to travel this year, while more than a quarter (28%) said they worry about their health while traveling during COVID-19.

“The most important aspect of traveling is to always stay safe and healthy. No one wants their vacation to be spoiled by being ill,” Laurie Dewan, Healthline Media’s vice president of brand, insights and communications, said. “Even if you’re vaccinated, it’s still a good idea to wear a mask, stay 6 feet from others, avoid crowds and wash your hands frequently. This is good advice for staying healthy even if we’re not in a pandemic.”