New AAA Travel Survey: Most Americans still planning travel, but…

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A new AAA Travel survey finds that most Americans are still planning to travel between now and the end of next year, but many more of them will be insuring those trips specifically because of the pandemic.

According to the survey, more than half (55 percent) of American adults are planning a vacation of at least one overnight stay before the end of next year, but one-third (31 percent) of them say they are more likely to purchase travel insurance for those trips because of COVID-19.

“The survey very much reflects what AAA travel advisors are experiencing. Travelers are still booking trips for this year, into next year and even into 2023 and 2024,” says Morgan Dean, AAA Mid-Atlantic Spokesperson. “Travel insurance provides them with the peace of mind to do so – more valuable than ever in light of the pandemic.”

Recent AAA Travel bookings have increased 11 percent over 2019 levels, and interest in travel insurance has increased in turn. AAA’s travel insurance sales have increased more than double digits year-over-year, as members return to travel and see the value of protecting that investment.

The ability to cancel a trip and get a refund is by far the most frequently cited benefit of travel insurance, with 69 percent of travelers saying this is most important to them when considering travel insurance for an upcoming trip. AAA advises these travelers to look into travel insurance policies that include a “cancel for any reason” component, which could offer more flexibility and protection in the event a traveler needs to cancel their trip.

While travel insurance policies have historically not covered epidemics or pandemics, in response to shifting consumer expectations, some providers have started to introduce plans that cover some losses due to COVID-19 or other epidemic diseases. AAA recommends travelers consult the expertise of a knowledgeable travel advisor to help plan their trips and evaluate the various travel insurance options available.

Choosing the right policy is important, and increasingly travelers want policies that protect against common covered reasons for trip cancellations and interruptions, as well as other travel-related incidents including change fees, delays or lost/damaged luggage, to name a few.

Also, it’s important to note that some international destinations may require visitors to carry travel insurance, to help cover any unexpected medical costs that may be incurred while visiting. A knowledgeable travel advisor can help travelers navigate these and other evolving travel requirements. AAA encourages all travelers to ‘know before you go’ – be well-versed on all travel restrictions that might be relevant to your destination and/or any stops along the way.

The AAA Travel survey also found that six in 10 Americans (60 percent) see the benefit of working with a travel advisor. Travelers’ top benefits of working with a travel advisor reflect the important role they play in today’s more complex travel environment, including:

  • To save time when researching or planning a vacation (40 percent)
  • For help with complicated new travel restrictions/requirements (34 percent)
  • To find the best deals (33 percent)

“Travel insurance options vary greatly, but a knowledgeable travel advisor can help you navigate through those complexities,” continued Dean. “A trusted travel advisor serves as your advocate before and during your trip. Partnering with a travel advisor to review your travel insurance options offers another level of protection, so you can focus on making lifelong vacation memories.”

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