American Travelers Practice Cautious Optimism, Many Are Waiting to Book End-of-Year Trips

‘Tis the season for booking holiday travel. Or, is it? Earlier this month, we asked more than 1,500 U.S.-based travelers about their travel plans: Of those planning to travel in the next year, 63% plan to do so in the next three months, suggesting a busy holiday travel season ahead. 

But when it comes to booking travel—for the holidays and otherwise— American travelers are practicing cautious optimism. More than a quarter (26%) of travelers said they have made plans they are prepared to cancel or change. And a quarter (25%) said they’re holding off making plans due to the Delta variant. Our data also points to many Americans waiting to book holiday travel plans, with the majority of those planning to travel for Thanksgiving, for example, planning to book only one month out.  

Perhaps past experience lends to this behavior—more than a quarter (28%) of travelers said they have canceled or changed plans due to the Delta variant. Of those who changed or canceled plans, 27% lost money, some up to $5,000. 

So, is the Delta variant making Americans more cautious about booking travel plans? What precautions are they taking—and what makes them feel comfortable—when they travel? What else do travelers consider before planning a trip? We look at the answers to these questions, and more, below. 

One third of Americans book vacations six months out; business trips one month in advance 

The top three reasons why Americans plan to travel in the year ahead have remained mostly consistent over the course of 2021. This time around, 77% said they’re planning a vacation, 60% are planning to visit family and friends, and 41% are planning a business trip. 

Other reasons include the winter holidays (27%), a special occasion (25%), a rescheduled trip (22%), and Thanksgiving (19%). 

As for when Americans are planning to book these trips: 

  • Nearly one third (31%) of travelers planning a vacation will book six (or more) months in advance. More than a quarter (26%) plan to book three to six months out. 
  • Half (50%) of people taking a rescheduled trip (re)booked it six months in advance—or more. 
  • Unlike vacations and rescheduled trips, business trips are most likely to be booked closer to the date of travel: 34% of those planning a business trip will book one month out; 28% book three weeks out. 
  • As for the upcoming holidays, 28% of those planning to travel will book plans for Thanksgiving one month in advance; 20% of those traveling for the winter holidays plan to book one month out, as well. 

Would-be travelers grapple with the Delta effect 

When we released survey data back in August, we saw that those comfortable flying in current conditions increased. And while remaining a top need, the relative importance of airline safety measures dropped.

But the Delta variant has changed what travelers need to feel comfortable flying. Our recent survey data shows that nearly half of travelers (47%) said in order to feel comfortable flying they would need proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test required for passengers. Forty-two percent of travelers would like to see airlines continue or increase their safety measures, such as mask requirements and COVID-19 testing mandates. In addition, more than a third (38%) of travelers said requiring vaccination or COVID-19 testing for airline employees would make them feel comfortable flying. (Soon after this survey was fielded, many U.S. airlines began doing just that.)

Travel-related concerns looked a bit different this time around, as well—and we’re positing the Delta variant is why. Back in August, we saw some familiar travel concerns return: overcrowding and long lines were the top concern, meanwhile unruly passengers and the costs associated with travel appeared in the top five. 

american travelers

Now, more than a third of travelers (37%) said their top concern was whether they might need to cancel or reschedule a trip due to COVID-19 restrictions, requirements, or illness. Staying up to date on travel restrictions, guidelines, and requirements came in second, with 35% of travelers expressing concern about this. Overcrowding and long lines dropped to number four in the list, but more than a quarter (27%) still say this is a top concern next time they travel. 

Travel plans – check! Now what?

Keys, wallet, phone, passport, vaccine passport. The list of things you need to travel in the new normal has lengthened—for most people. 

american travelers

According to our survey data, of those who traveled in the past six months:

  • 60% carried their CDC COVID-19 vaccination card with them on a trip 
  • 29% took a COVID-19 test for their trip 
  • 15% used a vaccine passport app for their trip 
  • Only 4% had to quarantine upon arrival or when they returned home 
  • Just 1% of travelers had to reschedule or change their trip plans due a positive COVID-19 test; likewise, just 1% of respondents contracted, or traveled with someone who contracted, COVID-19 during a trip 

That said, 30% of people told us none of the above applied to them. 

Millennial travelers are twice as likely to consider environmental impact of their trips

After a hard reset, many Americans are reshuffling their priorities when it comes to travel. Whether it’s ascribing to the slow travel movement or being more conscientious of their carbon footprint, travelers are rethinking how they travel—and why. Indeed, more than half (57%) of travelers said they consider political, environmental, and social issues when they travel. 

The top issues or values on travelers’ minds when planning a trip include the political environment or social unrest at their destination (43%), the ethics of traveling to their destination, e.g., vaccine equity/access or overtourism (23%), and the impact to the local community at their destination (15%).

When we looked at the differences between generations, we found that:

  • Millennials and younger are twice as likely (16%) to consider the impact of their travel-related carbon emissions than Gen Xers (7%) or baby boomers and older (8%).
  • Millennials and younger are more likely (25%) to consider the impact to the local community than Gen Xers (17%) or baby boomers and older (10%).
  • Gen Xers (9%) and baby boomers (11%) are more likely to consider potential threats based on their political views than millennials and younger (4%).

Because of the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, Americans are taking a cautiously optimistic approach to planning—and booking—trips. While some book flexible travel plans they know they might need to change or cancel, others are holding off booking until the last minute. 

These behaviors are understandable. Some travelers have lost money on canceled travel plans; others have had to reschedule trips—and then reschedule them again. 

Nonetheless, our data shows travelers persisted. They’ve done what it takes to travel, whether it’s carry their CDC-issued vaccine card, take a COVID-19 test for their trip, or book a spontaneous trip. 

We appreciate that changing travel restrictions and requirements can sometimes feel confusing and hard to predict. But with just 1% of travelers contracting (or traveling with someone who contracted) COVID-19, we’re glad to see caution paying off in keeping travelers safe. 

Methodology: TripIt surveyed more than 1,500 U.S.-based users to understand their travel plans for the year ahead. The survey took place in late September to early October 2021. For the purpose of this research, TripIt defined generations as follows: millennials (1981-1996); Generation X (1965-1980); and baby boomers (1946-1964).

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4 Easy Ways to Pack Like a Minimalist

What many packing guides leave out is the fundamental advice to pack with intention. That is, pack based on what you’ll need for the specific trip you’re taking—and ignore those just-in-case items that call to you from your closet but you never end up wearing. 

And I get it—it’s easy to throw in a few more pairs of shoes or an extra jacket if you have the suitcase space. But what that does is add to the time you’ll have to spend styling your outfit of the day, when you could be spending that time actually enjoying your day. 

Here are four easy steps to take to pack for your next trip like a minimalist. 

1. Make a packing list 

Before you start tearing your closet apart, sit down and list out what you have planned during your upcoming trip. Fancy dinner with a friend? Morning workout before a conference? Getting clear on your plans and goals will help streamline what you need to bring with you. 

Then, make a list of:

Supplemental reading: How to Pack a Week’s Worth of Clothing in Your Carry-On

2. Create a capsule wardrobe

For those who are unfamiliar, a capsule wardrobe is generally composed of a few essentials that can then be mixed and matched with other (seasonal) clothing items. 

To create a capsule wardrobe for an upcoming trip, start by pulling mostly neutral items from your closet. Depending on the length of your trip, you might be able to get away with taking one staple item each—i.e., one pair of pants, one blazer, one pair of shoes—and mixing and matching those neutral staples with various tops and accessories each day. 

Creating a capsule wardrobe also helps take the mystery out of what to wear on your trips going forward. Knowing your staples will reduce planning and packing time, and make styling your outfits on the go easy—freeing up your time to focus on what’s most important: spending quality time with your family and friends, taking time for yourself, or preparing for a client meeting (should you be traveling for business). 

3. Maximize your suitcase space 

Now, to get packing. First, rolling is the new folding—not only does rolling maximize your carry-on space, it also reduces wrinkles by keeping clothes in place. Pack your largest wardrobe items first, bearing in mind what items you may not need until the end of your trip, as those should go in first.

After you’ve packed your capsule wardrobe in your suitcase, place any smaller items into any open pockets of space, such as shoes (a great place to store socks!) and so on. This also serves to add an extra layer of protection for fragile items. 

Also, keep your chargers, extra headphones, and any other wires rolled up and placed in a spare sunglasses case. This way, they’re easy to access and small enough to transfer from your suitcase to a purse or backpack once you’re back on the ground.

Finally, be sure to put anything that you need to easily access on top—or better yet, in your personal item—so you don’t have to rummage around mid-flight (if you packed a carry-on bag) or once you reach your destination (if you checked your bag).

Read more: 5 Tips for Packing Toiletries

4. Plan to wash the essentials for maximum re-wearability 

So you’ve pared down your wardrobe to the bare essentials—well done! But, you’re going on a two-week trip, and you know you’re going to need to wash (in order to re-wear) some items, like leggings or undergarments. 

That’s where a bit of laundry detergent comes in. Pack a travel-size detergent in your suitcase. Then, you can easily hand wash any of the essentials you feel need a little TLC during your trip. 

Tip: No laundry detergent? No problem? Leverage TripIt’s Nearby Places feature to locate a convenience store near you to pick up what you need.

Planning to need to wash more than a couple items or booking a longer stay? Look for a vacation rental that offers a washer and dryer in-unit. Many hotels offer laundering services, as well (though the prices aren’t as nice as doing it yourself).

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How to Create Your Content Marketing Strategy

A clear content marketing strategy will help you produce faster, better content with less guessing and less stress.


I know you’re a busy business owner, but hear me out: When you take some time to think about what you want to be known for, who your ideal customers are, and how you can serve them with your content (and ultimately your services), your content will DO THE WORK FOR YOU.


Which means more sales, more money, and more time. Here’s how to start:


Goals can include awareness, lead generation, relationship building, or showing your expertise.



Consider how you address your customer’s pain points and the transformation they experience after your solution. This pain point-solution-transformation sequence should be the foundation of your content.



Think of 3-5 topics you want to be known for that you can talk about in your content. For instance, I talk about marketing, style, entrepreneurship, and mindset.



Use tools like Wordtracker, Display Purposes, and BuzzSumo to determine the most relevant hashtags, keywords, and posting topics.



Create a calendar based on your content themes. Plan when you’ll post, what you’ll post, and which platforms you’ll use. The more you figure out up front, the more consistent and effective your content will be.

With the right strategy in place, your content will do the work FOR you.

If you want your content marketing to contribute to the growth of your business and your bottom line, your strategy should be to lead your followers and readers down your sales funnel so they’re primed to buy from YOU, saving you time and energy.

Looking for more ways to streamline your content marketing, get clear on your process and save time?

Streamlining your content marketing is a breeze with my free Ultimate Content Creation Checklist! Download it now for an easy to follow, step-by-step process. Click here.

How to break your goals down into routines

Setting goals is easy. Achieving them, well… that’s another story.


For a lot of entrepreneurs, goal setting is the easy part. It’s taking the actions that get you to your goals that can be a challenge. So here’s a tip:



Let’s break it down:


If your goal is a steady stream of client work, you need to make consistently selling part of your routine.


If your goal is getting up earlier, you need to make going to bed earlier part of your routine.


If your goal is to master a new skill, you need to make learning and practicing that skill part of your routine.


Quick story:


At the beginning of the year, I decided to create a food prep routine to support my goal of eating at least one serving of fruits and vegetables with each meal. I decided Sunday evening would be THEE time.


But that first Sunday rolled around and y’all, I did NOT feel like chopping kale. I was already on the couch, I’d finished my weekly planning, and getting off my butt to do Yet Another Thing was just…tew much.


So I decided to trick myself: I added food prep to to the end of my grocery pickup routine.


It worked! Adding to a current, already established habit was much easier: the necessary tools were out, I was already in the kitchen, and it felt like a natural flow from one task to the next.

Doing something 80% of the time instead of 0% of the time is a TRIUMPH.

A few tips for developing new routines:




Set aside 5-10 minutes at the beginning. Your goal is to establish the habit of starting The Thing, not necessarily finishing it. All you need to focus on at first is showing up.




Take time to figure out how to set things up, which tools to use, and the best way for YOU to do things. Be patient with yourself the way you’d be patient with anyone learning something new.




You can gradually add more steps to a current routine if there’s a natural flow from one task to the next. Atomic Habits calls this “habit-stacking”.

The more easily your new routine fits into your current lifestyle, the easier it will be to stick to. See story above.



For me that means putting things on my calendar; for you it may mean hiring a coach, taking a course, or working with an accountability partner.



You WILL mess up or miss a day (or five). That’s OK, life happens. Don’t give up completely because you missed a day/session/meeting. I like to shoot for 80% completion—hey, a C is a passing grade. Doing something 80% of the time vs. 0% of the time is a TRIUMPH.


Once you master creating routines to help you achieve your goals, you’ll easily make progress on anything you want to do.


If you need help figuring out which routines will help you reach your goals and how to break them down into small, actionable pieces you’ll actually DO, contact me and I’ll help you get the ball rolling.

Need help taking that first step?

Then you need a PowerUP Session! We’ll clarify your audience, create a clear vision for your content that aligns with your business goals, and take ACTION to kickstart your marketing plan. Learn more.