US travellers are pivoting their Christmas travel plans, instead of cancelling them, according to a new report by travel insurance comparison site Squaremouth.com. While the data collected shows expected trends, like less travel overall, it also reveals how travellers are adapting in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Decrease in travellers
Travel insurance sales for the holiday season decreased by 15 per cent compared to last year, reports Squaremouth, correlating with the anticipated decrease in travel this holiday season. This is far less drastic than earlier months in the pandemic, when Squaremouth saw a decrease in travel insurance purchases by as much as 90 per cent.
The total amount of insured expenses tripled, however, compared to the 2019 holiday season. Despite travel deals and more lenient refund policies, US travellers staying stateside are insuring, on average, over US$1,000 more per trip than last Christmas. Travellers taking domestic trips are spending just over $5,000, with trips remaining about one-week long.
Domestic travel doubles international trips
For the first time in recent years, domestic travel exceeds overall international travel during the Christmas period. Squaremouth reports a 136-per-cent increase in domestic travel this year compared to the 2019 holiday season. However, the site has seen a 53-per-cent decrease in international trips.
Of those travellers still opting to travel internationally, most will be spending the holidays in the Caribbean, which remains widely open to US tourists despite international border closures.
Continuing a trend seen earlier this year, the vast majority of Squaremouth’s top international destinations are: Mexico, Costa Rica, Turks and Caicos, US Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Aruba and St Lucia.
In September, data from Squaremouth showed Americans have a pent-up desire to travel abroad in the new year, with a majority of Americans having planned international trips for the beginning of 2021.