Americans turning to Instagram to feed their wanderlust during the pandemic

SWNS
·3-min read

The average American has spent 176 hours scrolling through social media for travel inspiration in the past 12 months, according to new research.

The survey of 2,000 nationally representative Americans found one in four (24%) respondents have been scrolling for travel inspiration this past year as an outlet for their desire to travel.

For those respondents, the average person has spent just over a full week scrolling through vacation inspiration content on social media in the last year.

Of those who have been scrolling through social media, three-fourths (76%) said it's made them want to travel more, and almost two-thirds (63%) said it has helped them stay happy over the course of the past 12 months.

Commissioned by Motel 6 and conducted by OnePoll, the survey delved into Americans' 2021 travel plans — looking at how they hope to turn social media inspirations into a reality.

Three-quarters (76%) said they weren't able to travel as much as they had hoped during 2020 — and it's been almost seven months since the average respondent last traveled for fun.

That's allowed them time to think about future travel plans, and the average respondent has four destinations on their "travel bucket list."

While many haven't taken a trip recently, they're exploring other outlets for this desire to travel: in addition to scrolling through social media, respondents have talked to loved ones about future adventures (26%), lived vicariously through vacations in books and magazines (25%) and spent their time watching travel shows and movies (25%).

More than two-thirds (69%) have one or more trips tentatively planned for 2021, but they'll be hard-pressed to visit them all this year, considering many will be getting a late start.

Results revealed 55% of respondents are waiting to travel until after they've received the COVID-19 vaccine.

While personally receiving the COVID-19 vaccine topped the list of things respondents said they needed to help them feel safe traveling in 2021 (49%), respondents would also like their travel companions to have received the vaccine (39%), and they'd like to travel somewhere where masks are required (39%).

In addition, they would also feel safer staying somewhere they know has high cleaning standards (38%) and hand sanitizer located in various public places (38%).

"We want our guests to know that we will continue to 'leave the light on' for those in need of a clean, comfortable and affordable place to stay during these unprecedented times," said Rob Palleschi, CEO of G6 Hospitality. "When travelers are ready to hit the road again, we're here to help them do so safely."

The respondents who do feel safe traveling in 2021 are most likely to travel by car (54%), and they'd prefer to vacation somewhere new over somewhere they've been before (37% vs. 30%).

In fact, 56% of Americans surveyed said they're more likely to take a road trip in 2021 than in previous years.

And when they are traveling again, more than half (54%) said they're looking forward to it because it's good for their mental health.

Forty-six percent said they enjoy new adventures, and the same number said they're excited to travel because they miss seeing their loved ones.

Even then, three in five (58%) said they're worried about staying with family or friends if traveling in 2021, due to the ongoing health crisis — and half (49%) of respondents are therefore more likely to stay at a hotel if traveling this year.

Requirements to wear masks in public areas (45%), knowing about enhanced cleaning services 38%) and capacity limitations (37%) are the top things that would make respondents feel safer when staying at a hotel or motel this year.

"In the early days of the crisis, we launched Clean@6, an initiative aimed at enhancing cleaning and sanitation, physical, and social distancing and safe behavioral practices for everyone," said Palleschi. "Travel looks different now, so we continue to evolve and are doing everything we can to help travelers feel safe and confident the next time they walk through our doors."