U.S. Consumer Travel to Surge in 2024


As inflation continues to moderate, a new survey from Nationwide Travel Insurance shows U.S. consumers are optimistic about their travel plans in 2024 – right as spring break travel planning ramps up. Nearly all surveyed (91%) say they have plans to travel domestically in 2024, with four in 10 (40%) planning to travel more than they did in 2023. Additionally, half (50%) of consumers are planning to travel internationally this year.

Regardless of where they're going, consumers are already thinking about how they'll get to their travel destinations. Taking a road trip by car is the most likely mode of transportation (30% already have plans to do this and 60% say they are likely to). Flights are still popular, with nearly a quarter of people (22%) planning to travel by air (with an additional 46% saying they are likely to fly). Additionally, cruises may see a resurgence – while only 6% of consumers have already planned a cruise, almost a third (29%) say they are likely to take one in 2024.

However, while consumer travel is projected to rebound or even surpass pre-pandemic levels, half (51%) of consumers are still concerned about a resurgence of Covid-19 impacting their travel plans. Other top concerns for traveling this year include:

"It's encouraging to see another potentially strong year for travel as consumers continue to bounce back from the pandemic-era. However, the past few years have taught us the next disruption may be around the corner and we must plan for the unexpected," said Syed Rizvi, leader of Nationwide's travel insurance business. "With so many factors that can disrupt a trip today, it's important for consumers to invest in travel insurance to protect their peace of mind and finances."

Gaps in understanding the benefits and value of travel insurance

While consumers are concerned about travel disruptions, most say they don't typically invest in travel insurance policies to hedge against these risks. Nearly two-thirds (64%) say they rarely or never purchase travel insurance, with the biggest reason being they do not believe it is needed (47%).

The reality is that travel insurance offers several layers of protection, especially in this increasingly uncertain world. Top benefits of travel insurance include:

"While credit cards can offer travel protection, they don't always fully cover an individual if something goes wrong – especially if they get sick or injured on the trip," added Rizvi. "When traveling in this age of uncertainty, consumers should consider enhancing their coverage by buying a separate policy that protects against unforeseen disruptions. It's a relatively small premium to pay compared to the total cost of the trip."

Consumers more likely to purchase travel insurance for higher-risk trips in 2024

Even though many consumers have typically foregone travel insurance, they may look to invest in it in 2024 as they travel in an era of unprecedented challenges. Consumers report they will be more likely to purchase travel insurance when:

The majority of consumers have also indicated interest in purchasing multi-trip travel insurance, with 74% saying they would consider buying a travel insurance plan that covers all their trips for 2024.

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