New Survey Reveals How Travel Planning is Giving People Hope

10 February 2021

A recent survey of North American travelers found learning a new language and immersing oneself in travel stories is helping people cope with COVID-19

Photo Credit: Exodus Travels

Seventy percent of North Americans are coping with the pandemic by taking up hobbies that will enhance their future adventures, according to a survey commissioned by adventure tour operator Exodus Travels and conducted by OnePoll.

The survey dug into the behaviors of 2,000 self-identified travelers who have been grounded during the pandemic, 79% of which said they found embracing their hobbies and travel-related activities were key to combating things like boredom, loneliness and being unable to travel due to COVID-19.

Seventy-seven percent of respondents said that they’ve started completely new hobbies—about four, on average. Thirty-four percent started learning a new language, 45% took up watching travel shows, 49% spent their time reading stories about dream vacations, and 44% began researching hotels and trips they could potentially book when it’s safe to travel again.

The reason for all this fantasy travel planning? Sixty-four percent said they were about twice as likely to identify as “very happy” than those without leisurely diversions (40% vs. 18%). Still, nothing compares to the real thing: the survey found 78% of respondents are happiest when they can travel, while seven in 10 said a year without travel took a negative toll on their happiness in 2020.

“It's been heartening to see so many people taking their passion for global exploration and turning it inward,” said Robin Brooks, Exodus Travels’ Marketing & PR Director.

“Considering everything people have endured, for them to be subscribing to new modes of self-discovery and taking this time to learn new skills and interests that can inform their future travel experiences— there's just something incredibly hopeful about that.”

According to a past OnePoll report, those who rated their current happiness at a nine or 10 (in a 10-point scale) were the most likely to be currently planning a trip—which shows people are happiest when they have an upcoming adventure to look forward to.

With that, a third of respondents (36%) from this year’s survey stated that if they could take their perfect trip tomorrow, they would be willing to give up coffee shops and Netflix (34%). Almost a fifth of respondents surveyed (18%) said they would give up sex to be able to take a trip.

If travel becomes possible in 2021, respondents said they would prioritize travel to Europe (37%), Central America (36%) and Asia (34%) — while 14% said they want to go “anywhere and everywhere.” Respondents were most likely to want to take these trips with their significant other (56%), followed by their child (51%) and their friends (38%).

But while 67% said they will travel as soon as they can, respondents are also being cautious. The survey revealed 77% are paying more attention to what companies they’re traveling with (hotels, tour groups, airlines, etc.) to ensure they’re taking proper precautions for COVID-19.

“We all miss travel,” said Brooks. “But the health of our global community must come first. When it's safe to adventure abroad again, it's imperative everyone follow the proper precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19, which includes booking travel through companies and organizations that support small local businesses and have the resources to keep their travelers and all people safe.

“For now, the best thing to do is keep dialed in to the latest safety measures, remember this is temporary, we are all in this together — and keep looking forward to and planning your next adventure — so that when travel comes back, we'll all be ready.”

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