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Generali Global Assistance Holiday Travel Trends

In a true signal of U.S. consumer confidence and economic growth, nearly 100 million Americans will travel this holiday according to the just-released Generali Global Assistance consumer holiday survey. Millennials are the most likely to hit the road this holiday, with 48 percent saying they will travel. In similar fashion, those with children, regardless of age demographic, are the most likely to pile into the family “sleigh” over the next few weeks.

The survey broke travelers into two buckets – those going to see family and those planning to take a vacation. For family-bound travelers, most, 73 percent, will spend less than $1,000. Those going on vacation will spend significantly more, with over half spending more than $1,000 and nearly one-fifth spending between $2,500 and $5,000.

The holidays, for many, are synonymous with time spent connecting with family and loved ones. So, it’s not surprising that the Generali Global Assistance survey found that 87% of Christmas travel and 64% of New Year’s travel will be to visit relatives. Additionally, the number one reason for 68 percent of travelers going to see family was, you guessed it, to become a tighter knit familial unit. However, getting some relaxation or peace of mind was nearly equally as important at 66 percent – which may be possible so long as your last name isn’t Griswold.

Vacationers also were interested in creating a tighter family bond at thirty-two percent, but that ranked well behind relaxing at 65 percent and even behind discovery a new culture or getting a change of scenery at 44 percent. Vacationers were also more interested in reading or learning new things (29% vs 18% of family travelers) and sports activities (26% vs 13% of family travelers) – unless of course they are challenged to ski the “K-12.”

Staying in the US will be the primary destination for both family and vacation goers, but 42 percent of vacationers will venture beyond US borders versus just 15 percent of those travelling to see family. Those travelling for family purposes will stay within 100 miles of home. Vacationers will opt to get a bit further away, with only 18 percent staying within 100 miles and one-quarter venturing more than 1,000 miles away from their abodes.

Cars top the list this year as the primary mode of transport this year, especially for those going to see family. However about 30 percent of family travel will happen via airplane, compared to 40 percent for those taking off for vacation.

When the primary purpose of travel is to see family, 68% of travelers will stay with family or friends. For those going on vacation, only 20% will stay with family or friends. Twice as many people traveling for vacation will utilize shared economy options (e.g. personal home/apartment rentals) compared to those going to see family.

As Americans feel more confident about their economic prospects, they should also feel more confident about their travel investments should trips be affected by unexpected events.

And we’re not talking about family drama, forgotten gifts or decorative lighting gaffes. It’s more like flight cancellations, trip delays and lost baggage.

In fact, problems occur more often than travelers realize. One in five U.S. adults reported they have canceled a trip or changed travel plans, according to the survey, and 30% of people will purchase travel insurance.

Aside from impeccable luck, travel insurance is the best way to protect travel investments. And  many people are unaware of just how expansive their travel coverage is and the benefits it affords them.

Embedded features in policies such as identity theft resolution services, a 24-hour emergency assistance services hotline, and medical or dental coverage, can provide travelers with a comprehensive coverage plan that gives them much more protection than they realize.

More and more, travelers are beginning to take note of the benefits of travel insurance. According to a USTIA report, Americans spent nearly $2.8 billion on travel protection in 2016, about 19 percent higher than 2014.

Further, Generali Global Assistance recently expanded some of its product offerings to provide even more benefits, including coverage in the event of a non-traveling family member’s sickness or injury, concierge services, and even coverage for the loss, theft, damage or delay of sporting equipment.

When you’re away from home, you want all the protection you can get – and travel insurance can provide that added “peace of mind” we are likely looking for this holiday season.