As sheltering in place orders have extended, pent up demand for major purchases, such as vacations and traveling, have only been increasing over time (24% planning vacation/travel once things return to normal in Wave 5 of our COVID Tracker – March 30; 29% Wave 11 – May 10).  This trend is even further compounded by the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak.  Residents of states with the highest level of confirmed cases per capita are the most likely to travel within the next 4 months (25% vs. 20% in the medium and low states).  They have a strong need to connect with family and friends (57%) and have a change of scenery (48%) as well as the desire to support a destination’s local economy (39%).

These individuals are most comfortable with the prospect of traveling domestically (60%), renting a car (53%), and staying in a hotel (50%) more so than flying (36%) or taking Uber/Lyft/cab (37%).  Pressure from family and friends to avoid non-essential travel could derail their plans (26% say it might alter or block their 2020 leisure travel) even more so than those in less impacted states (20% among low or medium states).

Key takeaway:

The longer and more severe the impact of COVID, the greater the demand to get back to normal activities such as travel.


Survey Methodology:

This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll from May 6 – 8, 2020 among 2,508 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

For this analysis, we classified states based on the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak based on per capital confirmed cases as of 4/28.  States were grouped as follows:

  • Low (n=572) – South Carolina, Idaho, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Arizona, Kentucky, North Carolina, Texas, Oklahoma, Maine, Minnesota, Wyoming, West Virginia, Oregon, Alaska, or Hawaii
  • Medium (n=904) – Iowa, Washington, Nebraska, Virginia, Nevada, Florida, Tennessee, New Hampshire, Ohio, Vermont, Alabama, New Mexico, Utah, North Dakota, Kansas, Missouri, or California
  • High (n=1015) – New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Louisiana, Delaware, Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Maryland, South Dakota, Indiana, Colorado, Georgia, or Mississippi

Erica Parker

Managing Director

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