Consumers Hurry to Schedule Summer Trips Ahead of Return to Office and Back to School

According to the latest trend report from American Express, which surveyed 2,000 U.S. adults between June 25 and June 28, already busy schedules are filling up with last-minute travel plans.

To note, survey respondents were from households with an income more than $70,000 and defined as adults who traveled by air at least once in 2019.

With many respondents (40 percent) reporting they have already traveled or spent more money on travel than usual this summer (35 percent), the survey reveals the desire to travel remains strong. When asked about August travel plans, 60 percent of U.S. consumers surveyed said they plan to take at least one more vacation. And this fall, 63 percent of respondents said they want to be more intentional with their paid time off and will schedule time off around a vacation instead of taking days off work without a plan.

“After spending more time at home than ever before last year, there is a strong desire from people to make up for lost time and explore the world through travel again,” said Audrey Hendley, president of American Express Travel. “Our latest Amex Trendex found that 60 percent of U.S. consumers plan to take at least one more vacation to take advantage of working remotely before returning to the office and 47 percent are planning to travel more than usual before the school year starts.”

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Amex’s July Trendex. Courtesy Image.

For parents preparing for the back-to-school season, the company said, the survey indicates they are “seeking a fresh start” with 80 percent of those surveyed saying they are either hopeful, happy or excited. And knowing children will return to the classroom this year, 60 percent also said they are experiencing less of the “Sunday Scaries,” or the anxiety felt before a workweek. The increased optimism was found to parallel with an increase in activities including b-t-s shopping and fall hobbies.

Moreover, 44 percent of parents said the b-t-s season will mark the first time they have shopped for clothing in more than a year. Nearly half said they are happy or excited about shopping for b-t-s clothes and 66 percent said they plan to sign their child/children up for more extracurricular activities this year.

And adults returning to the office plan to be more active as well with health being top of mind. While 81 percent of respondents said they are confident they will be just as productive working in the office as working remotely, they also revealed a desire to prioritize integrating health and wellness into their work-from-home days within hybrid work models.

At the same time, working adults say they will partake in their own kind of b-t-s shopping, replacing sweats with office-appropriate pants. Of this group, 60 percent said they are excited to dress up again and 38 percent agree they need to “reset their own style for returning to the office.”

“Our latest American Express Trendex surveyed U.S. consumers to better understand what’s top of mind for them as we gear up for a return to in-person activities,” Monique Herena, chief colleague experience officer at American Express. “No surprise, health and well-being continue to be a top priority, with 87 percent of working adults indicating they want to make healthier choices, such as exercising before or after work, cooking healthier and taking walks throughout the day.”

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