Why Summer Travel 2021 Will Be a Tale of Two Americas


It’s been a year, am I right?

In 2021, more than any other year in memory, I think we all deserve a little time off. Spend some time walking down the beach, the sand between our toes, forgetting all we can about the blinding mess that the last pandemic year has been for all of us.

We’re not alone in this.

According to Allianz Global Assistance’s 11th annual Vacation Confidence Index, the vacationing Americans are expected to spend an average of $2,037 on travel this year, up 5.2% from last year. Oh, and it’s the highest even number since Allianz started the survey in 2010, with the total likely to surpass $100 billion by the end of December.

Think people want to get away?

But there’s a flipside to all this excitement.

Those big numbers are only for people who actually travel, though. The same survey also found that only 42% of Americans are confident that they’ll be going on vacation this year, nearly an all-time low. 

What are the concerns? Finances came in at number one with 52% of people mentioning them, while 38% said they just don’t have time for a trip this year. A lack of paid vacation might be an issue too. It’s pretty well known that the U.S. lags behind pretty much the entire world in terms of paid vacation days for workers. Unlike in Europe where workers can expect at least 14 days of paid leave, many Americans are looking at a week or less if they’re lucky.

It’s all about the money.

But this is a financial newsletter, and the biggest issue here really is finance-related. There’s no getting around the fact that travel is expensive, especially if you’re going overseas.

ValuePenguin says that a four-night trip within the U.S. will set a family back about $580 on average (though that sounds like a screaming deal with hotel rooms, gas, food, etc factored in so it must be pretty bare bones).

But going overseas for a week or two is generally going to start around $3,000 and go up from there.

Coming out of one of the worst economic downturns in memory, the fact is fewer and fewer Americans feel secure enough to justify those kind of expenses. And it might be a slow recovery for the travel and hospitality sectors as a result.


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