Pandemic prompts more travelers to work with travel agents and consider travel insurance
PORTLAND, Ore., – The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on Americans’ travel plans as people are changing the way they plan and protect their trips. A new AAA travel survey shows that more than half (55%) of American adults are planning a vacation of at least one overnight stay before the end of next year, travelers more likely to use a travel agent to help plan their trips, and travelers are increasingly turning to travel insurance to protect their vacation investments.
Travel in the U.S. is most popular between now and the end of 2022 with 36% of American adults saying they plan to travel domestically, while 15% say they plan to travel domestically and internationally, and 4% say they’ll travel internationally. More than a quarter of Americans (26%) say they do not plan to travel before the end of 2022, while 18% say they’re not sure.
One-third (31%) of U.S. travelers say they are more likely to purchase travel insurance for their trips planned between now and the end of 2022, specifically due to the pandemic.
“Travel insurance can protect your vacation investment and is relatively inexpensive for the large amount of peace of mind it brings,” says Doreen Loofburrow, senior vice president of travel for AAA Oregon/Idaho.
The cost of a travel insurance policy can vary widely from $15 to $500 or more per person, depending on your trip and the coverage you want. A trip costing $2,500 per person might cost $150 to insure. “Your travel agent can help you plan your trip and evaluate all of the various travel insurance options that are available so you can pick the right policy,” adds Loofburrow.
The ability to cancel a trip and get a refund is by far the most frequently cited benefit of travel insurance, with 69% of travelers saying this is most important to them when considering travel insurance for an upcoming trip. AAA advises these travelers to look into travel insurance policies that include a “cancel for any reason” component, which could offer more flexibility and protection in the event a traveler needs to cancel their trip.
While travel insurance policies have historically not covered epidemics or pandemics, in response to shifting consumer expectations, some providers have started to introduce plans that cover some losses due to COVID-19 or other epidemic diseases.
Recent AAA Travel bookings have increased and interest in travel insurance has increased in turn. AAA’s travel insurance sales have increased more than double digits year-over-year, as members return to travel and see the value of protecting that investment. Choosing the right policy is important, and increasingly travelers want policies that protect against common covered reasons for trip cancellations and interruptions, as well as other travel-related incidents including change fees, delays or lost/damaged luggage, to name a few.
Also, it’s important to note that some international destinations may require visitors to carry travel insurance, to help cover any unexpected medical costs that may be incurred while visiting. A knowledgeable travel agent can help travelers navigate these and other evolving travel requirements.
The AAA Travel survey also found that six in 10 Americans (60%) see the benefit of working with a travel agent to plan their upcoming trips. Travelers’ top benefits of working with a travel advisor reflect the important role they play in today’s more complex travel environment, including:
- To save time when researching or planning a vacation (40%)
- For help with complicated new travel restrictions/requirements (34%)
- To find the best deals (33%)
“AAA travel agents have been there, done that. They know all about the destinations you’d like to visit, and can serve as your advocate before and during your trip. They stay on top of the latest pandemic-related mandates and restrictions and can help you choose the right travel insurance so you can focus on making lifelong vacation memories.”
For more information and to get started planning your next trip, visit AAA.com/Travel.
The survey was conducted August 13–15, 2021, using a probability-based panel designed to be representative of the U.S. household population overall. The panel provides sample coverage of approximately 97% of the U.S. household population. Most surveys were completed online; consumers without Internet access were surveyed over the phone. A total of 1,126 interviews were completed among U.S. adults, 18 years of age or older. The margin of error for the study overall is 2.9% at the 95% confidence level. The margin of error for U.S. travelers is 3.9% at the 95% confidence level. Smaller subgroups have larger error margins.
AAA provides more than 62 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 30 motor clubs and more than 1,000 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.
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