The 2021 holiday season might see more travelers than last year if the new COVID-19 Omicron variant doesn’t sway people to cancel their plans.
A holiday travel survey released by The Vacationer suggests that 122 million American adults will journey far distances to celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa, but it’s important to note that the online poll was administered on October 17 – before the World Health Organization identified and named the Omicron variant.
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The Vacationer’s updated travel survey for 2021 shows a 13.54% increase in the number of American adults who say they intend to travel to a “vacation destination or gathering” compared to last year.
If the COVID-19 Omicron variant does not play a factor in holiday travel and The Vacationer’s data stands correct, 12.72% of American adults will travel by plane, 60.7% will travel by car and 3.93% will travel on some form of public transportation.
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In terms of how far Americans plan to travel for the December holiday season, more than a third (37.15%) say they’re traveling between one and 99 miles. Nearly one in five (19.3%) say they’re traveling between 100 and 499 miles. Nearly 8% say they’re traveling between 500 and 999 miles or more than 1,000 miles.
Forty percent of these holiday travelers expect to spend $500 or less on gas, flights, hotels, tickets and other festive events. One in 10 expect (11.07%) to spend between $501 and $1,000 while 12.26% expect to spend upwards of $1,001 on holiday travel.
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The Vacationer’s updated holiday travel survey was conducted using SurveyMonkey’s interface and audience, and the data was then analyzed by Eric Jones, an assistant professor of mathematics at the Rowan College of South Jersey.
The survey’s total sample size included 1,092 Americans who are over the age of 18.
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Unlike last year, coronavirus vaccines are available in the U.S. to combat COVID-19 and many of its variants. More than 195 million Americans are fully vaccinated, which is equivalent to 59.3% of the U.S. population.
The CDC recommends avoiding unessential travel if you’re feeling sick, have been exposed to COVID-19 while unvaccinated, have tested positive for COVID-19 (regardless of vaccination status) or are waiting for coronavirus test results.