As inflation continues to moderate, a new survey from Nationwide Travel Insurance shows U.S. consumers are optimistic about their travel plans in 2024 – right as spring break travel planning ramps up. Nearly all surveyed (91%) say they have plans to travel domestically in 2024, with four in 10 (40%) planning to travel more than they did in 2023. Additionally, half (50%) of consumers are planning to travel internationally this year.

Regardless of where they’re going, consumers are already thinking about how they’ll get to their travel destinations. Taking a road trip by car is the most likely mode of transportation (30% already have plans to do this and 60% say they are likely to). Flights are still popular, with nearly a quarter of people (22%) planning to travel by air (with an additional 46% saying they are likely to fly). Additionally, cruises may see a resurgence – while only 6% of consumers have already planned a cruise, almost a third (29%) say they are likely to take one in 2024.

Still Concerns

However, while consumer travel is projected to rebound or even surpass pre-pandemic levels, half (51%) of consumers are still concerned about a resurgence of COVID-19 impacting their travel plans. Other top concerns for traveling this year include:

  • Weather-related delays or cancellations (54%)
  • Technology issues (38%)
  • Unruly fellow travelers (37%)
  • Employee strikes (25%)

“It’s encouraging to see another potentially strong year for travel as consumers continue to bounce back from the pandemic-era. However, the past few years have taught us the next disruption may be around the corner and we must plan for the unexpected,” said Syed Rizvi, leader of Nationwide’s travel insurance business. “With so many factors that can disrupt a trip today, it’s important for consumers to invest in travel insurance to protect their peace of mind and finances.”

Value of Travel Insurance

While consumers are concerned about travel disruptions, most say they don’t typically invest in travel insurance policies to hedge against these risks. Nearly two-thirds (64%) say they rarely or never purchase travel insurance, with the biggest reason being they do not believe it is needed (47%).

The reality is that travel insurance offers several layers of protection, especially in this increasingly uncertain world. The top benefits of travel insurance include:

  • Covers health emergencies overseas: Half (50%) of consumers believe their health insurance provider would cover any health care needs that arise while traveling internationally. If a traveler gets injured or sick overseas, medical costs and other affiliated charges are likely not covered by their health insurance.
  • Low-cost investment: Many consumers overestimate the cost of travel insurance, with almost a third (30%) believing it costs more than 15% of the total cost of the trip. The average cost of travel insurance is 5-6% of the total trip cost.
  • Covers many top travel concerns: Many survey respondents mistakenly believe that travel insurance will not cover their top travel concerns, including injury or sickness (51%) and trip interruption (40%). Most travel insurance policies do cover these disruptions.
  • Provides comprehensive coverage: About two in five consumers (41%) mistakenly believe their travel credit card offers the same amount of protection as travel insurance, which is not always the case.

“While credit cards can offer travel protection, they don’t always fully cover an individual if something goes wrong – especially if they get sick or injured on the trip,” added Rizvi. “When traveling in this age of uncertainty, consumers should consider enhancing their coverage by buying a separate policy that protects against unforeseen disruptions. It’s a relatively small premium to pay compared to the total cost of the trip.”

Even though many consumers have typically foregone travel insurance, they may look to invest in it in 2024 as they travel in an era of unprecedented challenges. Consumers report they will be more likely to purchase travel insurance when:

  • Traveling to another country (68%)
  • Taking an expensive trip (65%)
  • Traveling to an area during a bad weather season (58%)
  • Traveling during a disease outbreak (55%)

The majority of consumers have also indicated interest in purchasing multi-trip travel insurance, with 74% saying they would consider buying a travel insurance plan that covers all their trips for 2024.

Survey Methodology

Edelman Data and Intelligence (DXI) conducted a nationally representative online survey of n=1,000 adult US consumers on behalf of Nationwide from September 12 – 19, 2023.

As a member in good standing with The Insights Association as well as ESOMAR Edelman Data and Intelligence conducts all research by local, national, and international laws as well as in line with all Market Research Standards and Guidelines.

Source: Nationwide