Vail, CO – Harvest Hosts, a membership program giving RVers access to unique camping options, today reveals its latest survey showing the current state of travel and how Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X and Boomers are approaching spring and summer travel. As Americans weigh the impact of inflation, rising gas prices and macroeconomic unease, they are being forced to reassess the trip planning process. Just a few months ago, travelers were planning lavish trips – following two years of being confined to their homes. Now, vacationers are scaling back.
“The travel industry is bracing for a chaotic summer season, with rising costs upending plans,” says Joel Holland, CEO of Harvest Hosts. “Road travel continues to peak travelers’ interest despite the rising cost of fuel. We’re seeing more travelers opt for shorter trips closer to home, planning quick getaways to nearby destinations. There is so much to explore on the local level and a whole new era of RVing is opening up as the industry shatters its records year after year.”
Factoring in Rising Gas Prices and Inflation
Travel-related costs are on the rise – impacting road and air travel plans alike. Many travelers were looking forward to long-awaited post-pandemic vacations this summer, but as costs creep up, many are changing their original plans rather than pay the full price of their trip.
- Overall, around half of Americans (53%) say the price of gas will limit their upcoming travel plans, whether traveling by road or air.
- In fact, 22% of travelers have already taken steps to shorten their trips in an effort to decrease costs.
- Differing from the other generations, around half of Millennials (53%) say the price of gas will not limit their upcoming travel plans – and are willing to spend more to see their plans through.
- The youngest and oldest generations are the most price-conscious– Gen Z (59%) and Boomers (57%) say the price of gas will limit their upcoming travel plans.
- The impact of inflation is already being felt, with half of travelers (51%) planning ahead and padding their travel budgets to accommodate for the anticipated higher costs.
Resurgence of the ‘Near-cation’ as Cost-Conscious Travelers Make Plans
During the peak of the pandemic, many Americans discovered hidden gems in their own backyards when traditional travel was restricted. Millions saw how much the United States had to offer – exploring new parts of the country easily accessible by car or RV. Now, cost-conscious travelers are revisiting the ‘near-cation’ concept to make the most of their time off without breaking the bank.
- Nearly two-thirds of Americans (62%) are planning to take local, regional trips, visiting nearby cities and towns.
- Campgrounds can expect another swell of bookings this summer, with 51% of travelers planning to book spots.
- In light of rising costs and world crises, most are foregoing international trips with only 19% planning to leave the country.
- The generational divide is visible in comfort level for international travel. On one end, nearly one-third of Gen Zers (30%) are planning international trips while only 9% of Gen Xers and 8% of Boomers are planning to go abroad.
- The majority of travelers (78%) are planning trips that are 1 week or less in duration – with one quarter (26%) planning quick 1–3-day excursions.
- Top destinations include the beach (64%), cities (47%) and national / state parks (43%).
Inflated Budgets are not Inflation-Proof
Even with larger post-pandemic travel budgets, many travelers are facing the reality of what inflation means for their upcoming trips. Consumers are largely price-driven especially when it comes to travel, so any opportunity to score a deal or cut costs will appeal to vacationers this season.
- Americans are increasing their travel budgets this year, with half either slightly or significantly increasing their allotted travel spend.
- In 2021, one quarter of travelers (24%) budgeted less than $500 for trips. This year (2022), 20% of people are budgeting $1,000 – $2,000 – doubling the travel budget.
- Boomers are most likely of all the generations to keep a consistent travel budget, with 35% budgeting about the same for travel over the last five years.
- In an effort to scale back, nearly two-thirds (63%) say they are not seeking luxury travel options.
- However, 45% of Millennials are still willing to spend extra for luxury travel with more than half (61%) citing savings from lack of travel during the pandemic as the reason.
Travelers are Answering the Call of the Open Road Again
Road trips spiked during the pandemic as many turned to cars and RVs as safer modes of travel. Heading into another summer, the allure of the open road is still calling, and the next generation of road travelers are preparing to live out their Jack Kerouac fantasies.
- Twenty-three percent of travelers went RVing for the first time since 2020.
- Nearly half of travelers (48%) have considered taking an RV trip in the last two years.
- While the majority of travelers (78%) do not currently own an RV, 28% of those that don’t are considering purchasing one and 33% are considering renting an RV for upcoming vacations.
- As many feel burnt out from work and the pandemic, nearly 60% have fantasized about living on the road.
- This resonates particularly with the younger generations with nearly two-thirds of Millennials (65%) and Gen Z (63%) dreaming of “van life.”
Must love dogs (or any furry friends)
Pets are family members, and after spending so much quality time with them at home over the last two years, vacationers don’t want to leave their pets behind– making pet-friendly options more appealing than ever. For Millennials especially, pets remain top priority when planning.
- More than half of all travelers (52%) admittedly base their travel plans on accommodating their pets – with Millennials being most likely to be swayed by their pets (56%).
- Meanwhile, over one-third of travelers (37%) deemed pet-friendly accommodations a “must-have.”
- Millennials are most likely to bring their pets on vacation, with 39% saying pet-friendly accommodations are a “must-have.”
- Gen Zers are slightly less tied to their furry friends, with about one-third saying pet-friendly accommodations are “nice to have, but not necessary.”
- Boomers are not traveling with pets as much, and 34% say pet-friendly accommodations are “not necessary.”
About Harvest Hosts
Harvest Hosts is a membership club for RVers offering unique overnight stays at over 6,000 locations all over North America – including more than 3,200 farms, wineries, breweries, distilleries, golf courses, churches, museums, and other scenic small businesses in addition to 2,900 Boondockers Welcome community host locations. The company’s mission is to help millions of people live happier lives through road travel, while supporting wonderful small businesses and communities along the way. Harvest Hosts has a redesigned mobile app where members can view hosts’ information, photos, reviews and availability – quickly requesting stays and communicating with hosts through in-app messaging. To learn morSe, visit: www.harvesthosts.com or download the Harvest Hosts app on iOS here and Android here.
Source: Harvest Hosts