Americans Optimistic About Being Able to Travel in 2021

Exodus Travels recently commissioned a OnePoll survey of 2,000 internationally-traveling Americans, hoping to gain a picture of U.S. travelers’ current mindsets and discover how they’re staying positive heading into the new year.

While 70 percent of respondents admitted that enduring an entire year without travel in 2020 sapped some of their happiness, 57 percent said they feel hopeful about 2021 and expect it to be better than 2020. Eighty percent reported feeling more optimistic at this point in time than they have since the pandemic began in March 2020.


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The reasons for this newfound optimism, respondents said, were mainly seeing the end of 2020 (51 percent), their hopes that 2021 will bring the end of the pandemic (52 percent) and the idea that they’d be able to travel more in 2021 (45 percent). Seventy-eight percent of those surveyed said that they’re happiest when they are able to travel.

This is consistent with a previous OnePoll survey, which found that people who rated their level of happiness at a nine or ten (on a ten-point scale) were most likely to be planning a trip; attesting to the correlation between happiness and the prospect of an upcoming adventure.

Though they couldn’t travel in 2020, respondents reported that they took to reading about vacations (49 percent), watching travel shows (45 percent) and even researched hotel options at their desired destinations (44 percent) to help themselves feel happier.

Seventy-six percent reported that it was more difficult to stay positive in 2020 than in years past. Among those who managed it, 82 percent cited making a conscious effort during 2020 to do the things that bring them joy in order to combat the negative effects of the year’s dismal events.

And, although 75 percent reported following the news in 2020 more closely than ever before, 76 percent also said that limiting their screen time was a major contributor to their overall happiness.

Armchair travel, dreaming of travel
PHOTO: Armchair traveler. (photo courtesy yacobchuk/Stock/Getty Images Plus)

The research also revealed that 79 percent of participants had found the adoption of new hobbies to be key for coping with the pandemic. Those who have hobbies were more than twice as likely to describe themselves as “very happy” (40 percent), compared to those without them (18 percent).

Seventy-seven percent of those who have hobbies said they’d begun new ones during the pandemic. Remarkably, 70 percent of respondents said they had embraced hobbies that could benefit their future travel plans, including learning new languages.

Exodus Travels’ Marketing & PR Director, Robin Brooks, remarked: “It’s been heartening to see so many people taking their passion for global exploration and turning it inward—adopting new hobbies, subscribing to new modes of self-discovery—a third (34 percent) of those surveyed even started learning a new language. They’re taking this time to learn new skills and interests that can inform their future travel experiences, and there’s just something incredibly hopeful about that.”

Other insights include the places that Americans are most eager to travel, such as Europe (37 percent), Central America (36 percent) and Asia (34 percent), though 14 percent reported their readiness to go “anywhere and everywhere”. Travelers said they’d most likely want to go with their significant other (56 percent), their children (51 percent) and their friends (38 percent).

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