Travel has definitely made a comeback this year, but research continues to show that conditions are still far from normal. In fact, a picture of what the "new normal" may look like becomes clearer now that the industry has transitioned from the peak summer season to fall.
One trend that could be seen as predictable is the surge in interest in travel insurance. According to travel insurance aggregator Squaremouth.com, travel insurance sales have surpassed pre-pandemic numbers.
Now that the summer travel season is over, Squaremouth's has drilled down its data to reveal other travel insurance buying trends, as well as the types of trips travelers, are taking.
The data revealed 5 travel trends in the Squaremouth data that showcase the new normal.
The first is that, when it comes to sales, international travel made up 90 percent of Squaremouth's business. In summer 2020, more than 40 percent of travelers remained stateside, the highest amount in Squaremouth history. However, by the summer of this year, international travel made up approximately 80 percent of sales.
A new trend that has emerged due to travel restrictions is a demand for last-minute policies. As borders reopen, more travelers are booking international trips abroad at the drop of a hat.
Historically, travelers purchased insurance at least 50 days before their trip, according to Squaremouth. That grew to 100 days in advance for international trips in 2020. During summer 2021, Squaremouth's data shows that the window shrank to 25 days before a trip.
Since international travel can often be unpredictable, it makes sense that many travelers would turn their international travel dollars into domestic travel purchases. Now, for the first time, Squaremouth found that domestic travelers are spending more than their international counterparts.
In summer 2021, the average cost of a domestic trip was 22% more than an international trip, and travelers are spending about the same as they did prior to the pandemic, with an average trip cost of around $3,600.
Squaremouth also found that travel insurance consumers are skewing younger than the historical average. Travelers in the Baby Boomer and Silent generations comprised nearly half of all Squaremouth customers before the pandemic. This summer, that number was just about 25 percent.
Currently, Millennial and Gen-X travelers are now the largest demographic, each accounting for more than 25 percent of travelers.
The final trend Squaremouth identified in its research was that the Caribbean continues to lead in popularity among those who are currently traveling.
Mexico, Turks and Caicos, and Costa Rica were the top 3 international destinations on Squaremouth.com. Prior to the pandemic, Canada, Italy, France, and the UK were the most popular among U.S. tourists.
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