WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ahead of National Plan for Vacation Day on January 26, the U.S. Travel Association released data prepared by the research firm Destination Analysts outlining Americans’ desire to travel again after the COVID-19 pandemic. Six in 10 Americans said that they “desperately” need a vacation, 59 percent miss traveling “very much,” and 55 percent are excited about leisure travel in the next six months, according to Destination Analysts’ Coronavirus Travel Sentiment Index Report from January 18, 2021.
Nearly three-quarters of employed Americans indicated they set aside time to plan out vacation days for the coming year, and 84 percent are excited to plan a vacation in the next six months, according to Destination Analysts research from December 2020. In the same report, Destination Analysts found that 93 percent of American workers say it is important to use their paid time off to travel, and 53 percent of American workers prefer to use their paid time off to take a vacation away from home once a vaccine is available and accessible.
National Plan for Vacation Day is celebrated on the last Tuesday of each January and aims to encourage Americans to plan all of their days off for the year at the beginning of the year. Historically, the day was designed to help address the problem of Americans failing to use all of their earned time off each year—an issue that persists, according to the latest data. However, National Plan for Vacation Day is taking on a different role in 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the U.S. Travel Association. For one, looking ahead to a travel experience provides a psychological boost; previous polling found that 97 percent of Americans say having a trip planned makes them happier, and academic research has found that the positive effect of anticipating a journey rivals that of actually being on one.
“Vacation planners are going to be rewarded this year more than ever before,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “Not only will planners reap the significant personal benefits of looking forward to their next travel experience, but they will find some of the friendliest booking conditions we have seen in a very long time. After the very real peril and hardship that too many have endured due to the pandemic, National Plan for Vacation Day is the perfect opportunity to look ahead to a future travel experience when the time is right for you to travel once again.”
Dow stressed that COVID-19 is still a very present challenge, and that all Americans must continue to put health and safety first. Making the decision to travel again is a very personal decision, he said, and when people choose to travel they must continue to embrace the health and safety practices that can keep themselves and their fellow travelers safe. He added that National Plan for Vacation Day aligns with Let’s Go There, the national initiative launched last year to spark a conversation about future getaways.