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Road trips and family leisure trips

Road trips and family leisure trips – travelers’ most preferred getaways

Key takeaways:

  • - Staycations remain the most popular travelers’ choice
  • - Road trips are in - traveling by car is perceived as safer than flying
  • - “Flexcations” - the new type of family holiday

With the uncertainty over international travel and changing quarantine rules, staycations continue to be the most popular travelers’ choice. According to a recent Expedia Group research exploring travel sentiment across the U.S., Australia, Canada, Europe and the U.K., 76% of the planned leisure trips through December 2020 are domestic.

Travelers are choosing to take the wheel on an adventure closer to home with 2/3 of the respondents traveling under 1,000 miles. Driving is still perceived as a safer option, both health-wise and economically and the likelihood of renting a car for a leisure trip is three times higher than pre-COVID levels.

‘76% of planned leisure trips through December 2020 are domestic.’

While the desire to get away is strong, the travel motivators look slightly different than before. There’s demand for the following types of travel:

  1. Family leisure trips - driven primarily by the need for a change of scenery and the chance to create new family experiences together

  2. Visiting family and friends after the lockdown - viewed as a way to take less risk when returning to travel

  3. Going on a romantic trip – the opportunity to enjoy a change of scenery

An emerging trend in family travel that we’re seeing in recent months is the so called “flexcation” - mixing work and play while on holiday. Taking advantage of the more flexible work and school arrangements, where possible families are renting vacation homes later in August, September and October.

A recent nationwide Vrbo survey of families revealed that 50% of respondents agreed that flexible school schedules provide more flexibility in vacationing, while 48% said they can work from anywhere. 21% of respondents also shared that working from anywhere creates big opportunities for travel during the second half of 2020.

The health and safety concerns are also evident in the types of destinations domestic travelers are visiting with coastal and rural areas being the most popular choices. Beaches, lakes and mountains are seen as an attractive alternative due to the remoteness and potential ease to social distance responsibly. The traditional city breaks and international travel are still low in demand which is likely to remain as a trend in the upcoming months.

Changing accommodation preferences

Our latest travel sentiment study reveals that 9 in 10 travelers would be comfortable booking accommodations for a leisure trip in September or October. While vacation rentals remain the most preferred lodging option (31%), accommodation preferences have shifted in recent months with travelers also booking chain hotels (28%) and resorts (15%).