DALLAS, Texas (June 17, 2020) – As all 50 states reopen and summer travel season officially begins, Travelocity is forecasting a rise in ‘Safecations’ – mini vacations to destinations deemed safe for travel – based on new research and booking data that reveals how families in the U.S. are thinking about travel in the months ahead.
According to Travelocity’s “COVID-19 Return to Travel” survey, which was conducted in early May, 90% of families say that refundable hotel rooms and cleanliness of their transportation or lodging options are now the most important influence on where and when they’ll travel this summer due to COVID-19.
“Our research shows that families are going to be the first to return to travel this summer, but safety is definitely top of mind,” says Katie Junod, General Manager for Travelocity. “Two-thirds of families said they plan to stay at a hotel because they are looking for free cancellation and cleanliness policies that give them a sense of control.”
While one-in-four families kept their summer plans on the books, more than 60% of families said they postponed a road trip or beach vacation until late summer or early fall. One summer travel tradition might be canceled this year: the annual family vacation. Just 9% of travelers said they would go on a trip with both their kids and parents due to COVID-19. In fact, Boomers were twice as likely to say they’ll travel alone this summer, whereas families said they plan to travel with their children (69%) and significant other (76%).
How to Plan a Safecation
For travelers looking for tips on where to go and how to stay safe on the road this summer, experts at Travelocity are offering some top tips and advice.
- Consider the Booking Window: A large portion of bookings on Travelocity have been made within a week of when the trip is set to begin. However, experts recommend travelers reserve hotels at least a month in advance if they can. “As travel demand increases in the weeks ahead – and with many hotels operating at reduced capacity right now to practice safe social distancing – you’ll likely see inventory start to play a factor,” says Junod. “Searching for hotels with free cancellation is one way to plan ahead while also maintaining that flexibility to cancel later.”
- Search for Flexible Change/Cancel Policies: Sites like Travelocity have started to prominently feature hotel filters on-site, and many hotel listings feature badging that clearly states whether the property has flexible or free cancellation.
- Look for Customer Cleanliness Ratings Online: Hotels listed on Travelocity now have the option to highlight any guest health and hygiene amenities in place at their property. This includes new practices such as contactless check-in and check-out, hand sanitizer for guests, enhanced cleaning practices, social distancing measures and more.
- Roam Near Home: Booking data over the past few weeks shows Travelocity visitors are staying closer to home. The majority lodging bookings have been within 600 miles or driving distance of a customer’s home. Same-state travel has also increased drastically. “This is the summer to create a backyard bucket list and take those trips to landmarks or places of interest in your home state,” says Junod.
- Control What you Can: Experts recommend traveling mid-week or starting a trip on a Saturday to avoid peak travel times. “Revisiting a familiar destination you’ve been to before or booking a property you know well can also give you a sense of comfort and control during these uncertain times,” says Junod.
Top Return to Travel Findings
- Summer is still on:Beach trips and road trips were the most popular vacations planned before the pandemic – particularly for families. 61% of families planned to go to the beach this spring/summer; 55% planned to take a road trip. A quarter of families still took those trips or are planning to. Nearly 2/3 of families have postponed those trips until later this year.
- Family travel will be the first to return:Families with children plan to take a trip sooner than other demos, such as boomers or general population. On average, most families said they would travel within the next 4.5 months.
- Boomers are going solo this summer:Boomers were twice as likely to say they’ll travel alone this summer, whereas families said they plan to travel with their children (69%) and significant other (76%).
- Clean and refundable:90% of families say that refundable hotel rooms and cleanliness of their transportation and/or lodging options (90%) is now the most important influence on where/when they will travel due to COVID-19.
- Hotels, hotels, hotels:Hotels are the top lodging accommodation of choice for all travelers, but particularly for families. 66% of family respondents said they’d prefer to stay at a hotel, followed by friends and family (35%) and vacation rentals (27%).
For travel tips and road trip recommendations near you, visit Travelocity.com.
Travelocity encourages travelers to Wander Wisely™ and is dedicated to championing the customer by making the travel experience both simple and memorable through exceptional customer service, expert advice and guaranteed value. Based in Dallas, Texas, Travelocity is owned by Expedia Group, one of the world’s leading travel companies, with an extensive brand portfolio that includes many of the world’s leading online travel brands.
 Travelocity “COVID-19 Return to Travel” online survey among 505 U.S. adults fielded May 5-8, 2020.