Eighteen months after the start of the coronavirus pandemic, countries have reopened borders to travelers. A recent survey conducted by Atlys found new and emerging travel trends, with travel becoming more expensive and uncertain than ever. The survey analyzed data from more than 3,500 travelers who used Atlys to travel abroad to understand these new travel patterns amongst Americans. Travel expenditure increased by a whopping $330 per trip due to COVID-19-related entry requirements, and so has the uncertainty, with 41% of travelers actively involved in travel communities related to their journeys.
Additionally, 58% of American travelers were unvaccinated, with the most common destinations being Mexico (37%), Greece (19%), Dominican Republic (12%), Bahamas (11%), and Aruba (13%), and Costa Rica (8%).
Major Survey Results
Other significant results from the Atlys survey conducted over the summer include:
58% of Americans that traveled abroad this summer were not vaccinated. As countries reopened their borders, non-vaccinated travelers returned to the same travel patterns as before COVID-19.
Old travelers are on the rise with a quarter being 50+. Amongst other demographic shifts, 47% of millennials refused to travel because of high costs, while 25% were scared to travel with unvaccinated children.
Florida is the hub for unvaccinated travelers: 20% of unvaccinated American travelers live in Florida. The top 4 U.S. states by active COVID-19 cases also led the pack for most outbound travel amongst unvaccinated Americans. Florida accounted for most outbound unvaccinated tourists, followed by Texas, New York, and California.
Traveling is inefficient: Each traveler spends more than 5 hours determining entry requirements and filling out paperwork. In addition, 23% of travelers saying they contacted either their airline, hotel,” or travel platform to understand the entry requirements with airlines call waiting times running into hours.
The New Normal
The current process is highly confusing for travelers. Mohak Nahta, CEO and founder of Atlys, said, “This survey highlights the inefficient processes set in place by governments. While it’s understandable that requirements exist to keep COVID-19 at bay, countries must streamline the process. As countries look to revamp tourism, they underestimate the impact of fast, efficient systems and clear, easy-to-understand processes have.”
Countries have introduced a range of requirements to enter, making it more expensive to travel than ever. On average, the extra cost adds up to $330 per traveler and constitutes COVID-19 visas, travel insurance, and COVID-19 tests. In addition, 79% of travelers expressed frustration at the lack of disclosure by hotels & airlines on the added costs of traveling, only to discover them much later when the cancellation was not an option.
A COVID-19 visa, also known as a health visa, is a new visa that travelers need to get. While they’re electronic, the approval is not instant. Authorities review each application; they can only be submitted a few days before the trip and are not free.
“I wanted to travel to the United Kingdom, but I need to get a test within three days and then once I reach on the second and eighth days, and in between too? I am confused. I just decided not to go," said Sid, a 26-year-old Software Engineer based out of New York City. Many other travelers echo this sentiment, and the survey brings to light the importance of building systems to guide and educate travelers in the post-Covid world.
About The Survey
Atlys conducted the survey based on data from 3500 Atlys users between May 15, 2021, and September 5, 2021, for U.S. adults ages 18 and older. The Atlys app makes it fast & easy for travelers to get their visas.