Need a vacation? The average American has gone 14 months without traveling due to COVID

NEW YORK — For some agencies who suffer from a bad reputation, 2020 hasn’t been that bad of a year. A new survey finds even the TSA is more popular than coronavirus quarantine. Sixty-three percent of Americans say they would rather spend three hours every day in a TSA security line than stay indoors for the rest of the year. The finding is a testament to just how much people are missing the ability to hit the road and enjoy the benefits of traveling.

The new poll asked 2,000 U.S. adults to describe their mental state under current COVID-19 travel restrictions and social distancing guidelines. Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Apple Vacations, the study finds 84 percent say they dearly miss traveling this year. Only four percent of the poll say they don’t miss it.

Fifty-six percent cite wanderlust as the biggest contributing factor to their “quarantine fatigue,” referring to the widespread mental and physical exhaustion that many are feeling after months of isolation. Other top fatigue-inducing factors include not being able to socialize (52%), feeling like every day is the same (51%), and not knowing how long the pandemic will last (48%).

On average, those surveyed report that the last time they traveled was about six months before the start of the pandemic. That means the average American has gone at least 14 months without a vacation.

Long lines beat not traveling at all

For 70 percent of respondents, this period marks the longest they’ve ever gone without being able to travel. Fifty-three percent even admit to missing the more mundane and annoying parts of the travel experience. The survey finds some Americans are actually pining to get stuck in security, wait to claim baggage, or experience airport delays.

However, hope springs eternal for many of these cooped-up wanderers. An overwhelming 90 percent say they’re excited about the possibility that they might be able to travel before the end of 2020. In fact, over half of those polled are already planning to travel at least once before the end of the year. Another 80 percent are planning a trip for 2021. The average respondent also hopes to get back to traveling at least twice a year in 2021. Sixty-four percent are hoping to travel a lot more frequently than they ever did before next year.

“After months of isolation at home, we are finding that people are ready to start traveling again as long as they feel that destinations and travel partners are prioritizing health and safety,” says Michael Lowery, Senior Vice President and General Manager of AppleVacations.com, in a statement.

Packing for a pandemic?

With COVID on everyone’s minds now, people are changing their game plan when it comes to their carry-on bags. From hand sanitizer (63%) to disinfectant wipes (49%), Americans’ travel necessities are evolving in these uncertain times.

In fact, two in five adults now plan on packing gloves while one-third insist on bringing a reusable water bottle with them when traveling — things they never would have thought to bring pre-pandemic.

“Traveling is evolving and changing with the times. While it may not look similar to what it once was, the future is bright and people are looking forward to getting away and enjoying their time together,” Lowery adds.

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