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      Holiday Travel Survey 2021 — How Many to Travel, Comfort Level, Virtual Holidays, Holidays with Unvaccinated or People You Dislike

      Eric Jones
      Holiday Travel Survey 2021

      The holiday season begins next month. And, millions of Americans are expected to travel. While COVID-19 still has some people worried, traveler throughput at TSA checkpoints is approaching 2019 numbers. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and other holidays will give people plenty of opportunities to see their family and friends.

      We conducted this 2021 Holiday Travel Survey to gauge travel sentiment over the next several months. How many people plan to travel this holiday season? How comfortable do people feel traveling? Are people willing to spend the holidays with unvaccinated family members and friends? Are some people still taking part in virtual celebrations? Will people be spending the holidays with others they dislike? Below you can find the answers to these questions as well as interesting demographic comparison data. You can also check out our 2021 Thanksgiving Travel Survey and our 2021 Christmas Travel Survey.

      Let’s take a look at the survey results:

      • Thanksgiving. — 15.19%
      • Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa. — 20.22%
      • Both. — 27.17%
      • No. — 37.42%
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      Interesting Demographic Comparison — Older Americans are less likely to travel for the holidays. As people in the survey increased in age, they became less likely to travel this holiday season. Only 24.18% of those aged 18-29 said they wouldn’t travel this holiday season. However, 37.08% of Americans aged 30-44 said they wouldn’t. And, 37.09% aged 45-60 said they’d forego travel this year. Lastly, 53.31% of Americans over 60 will not travel for the holiday season. This is the same trend we saw in our 2020 Holiday Travel Survey.

      Key Takeaway — Nearly 63% of all Americans aged 18 or older will travel for at least one holiday this year. Based on the latest census, this equates to more than 161 million adults. This figure includes 15.19% or 39 million American adults who will travel for Thanksgiving only. Additionally, it includes the 20.22% or 52 million that will travel for Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa. Lastly, it includes the 27.17% or 70 million people that will travel for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa. The data suggests a 37% increase in holiday travel when compared to last year’s survey where the same question was asked.

      If you do plan on flying this holiday season, check out our Best & Worst Days to Fly For Thanksgiving and Christmas 2021 guide.

      How comfortable do you feel traveling and gathering for the holidays this year compared to last?

      How comfortable do you feel traveling and gathering for the holidays this year compared to last?

      Photo: Eric Jones screenshot via SurveyMonkey

      Let’s take a look at the survey results:

      • More Comfortable. — 42.82%
      • Same as Last Year. — 46.57%
      • Less Comfortable. — 10.61%

      Interesting Demographic Comparison — People in the Mountain region are most likely to feel less comfortable traveling this holiday season than last. The Mountain region includes the states of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada. 17.07% of Mountain region respondents stated this. On the other hand, people in the West North Central region are the least likely to feel less comfortable traveling this holiday season. Only 7.23% of those people expressed that opinion. States included in the West North Central region are Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas.

      Key Takeaway — Nearly 43% of all Americans aged 18 or older feel more comfortable traveling this holiday season than last. This figure represents over 110 million people. This is not surprising since more Americans than ever are now vaccinated against COVID-19. It is also interesting to note that 10.61% or 27 million people feel less comfortable traveling year.

      Are you willing to celebrate the holidays with people who are unvaccinated from COVID-19?

      Are you willing to celebrate the holidays with people who are unvaccinated from COVID-19?

      Photo: Eric Jones screenshot via SurveyMonkey

      Let’s take a look at the survey results:

      • Yes, regardless if they take a COVID-19 test beforehand. — 46.66%
      • Yes, but only if they receive a negative COVID-19 test beforehand. — 20.40%
      • No. — 32.94%

      Interesting Demographic Comparison — The youngest generation of American adults aged 18-29 is most willing to celebrate the holidays with an unvaccinated person. Only 23.08% of people in this age group stated they would not. However, 30% of people in the 30-44 age group and 31.16% of those aged 45-60 said they were unwilling to celebrate the holidays with an unvaccinated person. Lastly, nearly half (49.59%) of Americans over age 60 are not willing to celebrate the holidays with an unvaccinated person. The most vulnerable age group to COVID-19 wants to take the least amount of risk.

      Key Takeaway — One in three American adults are unwilling to celebrate the holidays with unvaccinated people. This includes people who are unvaccinated and receive a negative COVID-19 test. This data suggests that nearly 85 million American adults are not willing to celebrate the holidays with family or friends even if they just tested negative for COVID-19. Another 20.40% of American adults will celebrate with unvaccinated people if they receive a negative test. Only 46.66% of people will celebrate the holidays with unvaccinated Americans regardless if they take a COVID-19 test beforehand.

      Will you take part in any virtual holiday celebrations this year?

      Will you take part in any virtual holiday celebrations this year?

      Photo: Eric Jones screenshot via SurveyMonkey

      Let’s take a look at the survey results:

      • Yes, due to COVID-19 concerns or travel restrictions. — 19.30%
      • Yes, but it is unrelated to COVID-19. — 17.57%
      • No. — 63.13%

      Interesting Demographic Comparison — More women than men will take part in virtual holiday celebrations this year due to COVID-19 concerns or travel restrictions. Only 16.67% of men said they’d be taking part in a virtual holiday due to COVID-19. However, 21.53% of women said they would. Interestingly, more men than women said they’d be taking part in virtual celebrations for reasons unrelated to COVID-19. 19.19% of men said this while only 16.15% of women did.

      Key Takeaway — More than one in three people will take part in a virtual holiday celebration this year. This equates to about 95 million people. Additionally, nearly one in five people will take part in a virtual celebration this year specifically due to COVID-19. This means COVID-19 will cause 50 million people to miss in-person holidays during the next few months.

      Will you spend any holiday this year such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc. with someone you dislike?

      Will you spend any holiday this year such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc. with someone you dislike?

      Photo: Eric Jones screenshot via SurveyMonkey

      Let’s take a look at the survey results:

      • Yes, but only one person. — 13.17%
      • Yes, more than one person. — 21.23%
      • No. — 65.60%

      Interesting Demographic Comparison — The youngest American adults are significantly more likely to spend a holiday this year with someone they dislike. The difference between the youngest and oldest generations is drastic. 53.11% of those aged 18-29 said they will spend a holiday with at least one person they dislike. On the other hand, only 14.05% of people over age 60 will spend a holiday with someone they dislike. The youngest generation is more than twice as likely to spend a holiday with two or more people they dislike than the older generation is to spend it with any amount of people they dislike.

      Key Takeaway More than one in three people will spend a holiday this year with at least one person they dislike. This equates to nearly 89 million people. We all have some people in our family that we “deal” with during family occasions. However, 89 million people saying they dislike someone seems like a lot! Additionally, more than one in five people said they will spend a holiday with two or more people they dislike. This figure equates to nearly 55 million people!

      Survey Methodology

      This Holiday Travel 2021 Survey was conducted by SurveyMonkey on behalf of The Vacationer. In total, 1,092 Americans over the age of 18 were polled on October 17. Of those surveyed, 47.25% were male and 52.75% were female. The age breakdown of participants included in this survey was 25.00% in the range 18-29, 21.98% in the range 30-44, 30.86% in the range 45-60, and 22.16% over 60. This survey has a confidence level of 95% and a margin of error of ±3.026%. You can learn more about SurveyMonkey’s sampling method by clicking here.

      The questions were chosen and the results were analyzed by the post author, Eric Jones, who is a Mathematics and Statistics Professor at Rowan College South Jersey.

      Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post. 

      Eric Jones Mediterranean Cruise

      By Eric Jones

      Eric Jones is the co-founder and head of operations of The Vacationer. He uses his background in mathematics as a professor at Rowan College South Jersey to conduct statistical studies and surveys on traveling and vacations. Having traveled to all 50 states and over 30 countries, Eric is well-equipped to recommend travel destinations and new adventures to those seeking lifetime experiences.