Travel

6 in 10 People Use Social Media to Choose Travel Destinations

Travel has changed a lot over the past few decades. It seems social media has a huge impact on where and how we travel.

Travel has changed a lot over the past few years, and social media has played an ever expanding role in how people choose their travel destinations. ValuePenguin polled more than 1,000 Americans to get a pulse on the state of travel in America. We wanted to find out whether people's travel decisions were influenced by social media, how people utilized rewards or miles to reach their destinations, and what some of the biggest gripes were that people had to put up with. Here's what we found:

Key findings:

  • Four in 10 Americans fear flying.
  • 42% of Millennials stress about taking the perfect photo for social media during vacation.
  • Nearly a quarter of Americans were stranded overnight at an airport when flying last year.
  • Six in 10 people use social media to choose their travel destinations.
  • 40% of men admit to working while on vacation.

4 in 10 Americans fear flying, and 16% avoid it together

Despite being pegged as a generation that enjoys traveling, Millennials are more likely to fear flying than any other generation. Forty-five percent of Millennials admitted to fear flying on airplanes, significantly higher than the 33% of Gen Z participants who shared the same feeling. As it turns out, that's not out of the ordinary considering four in 10 Americans polled said they feared flying.

4 in 10 Americans fear flying

42% of Millennials stress about taking the perfect photo for social media during vacation

The only generation to report a higher percentage of people feeling stress about taking a great social media picture was Generation Z. Forty-three percent of Generation Z respondents claimed feeling stress on the topic. Stress disproportionately affected men, with 36% saying they stressed about finding a picture for social media during vacation, compared to just 25% of women feeling the same way.

Do you stress about taking the perfect photo for social media?

Yes% of age group
Gen Z43.2%
Millennials42.3%
Gen X34.3%
Baby Boomers12.3%

Nearly a quarter of Americans were stranded overnight at an airport in the last year

Of the people who we polled who flew in the last year, nearly one in four have been stranded at the airport overnight. Additionally, nearly 21% of Americans missed their connection when flying in the last year and 18% of Americans lost baggage.

Americans have terrible travel experiences
Americans have terrible travel experiences

Many credit cards offer travel protections and rewards for travel. One-third of the people we polled have used credit card rewards or points/miles to book travel in the past 12 months (40% of men and 26% of women).

60% of people use social media to choose their travel destinations

Sixty percent of people have used social media to find travel destinations, and Facebook is the most common source, followed by Youtube and Instagram. Men are more likely than women to use social media to find travel destinations and 81% of Millennials have used social media to find travel inspiration.

How Social Media Platforms Rank for Travel

Just 15% of people completely trust travel bloggers as an authentic source for tips about destinations, though 49% somewhat trust them. Millennials trust travel bloggers more than other age groups. Forty-six percent of Millennials said travel bloggers are their main source of vacation planning inspiration, compared to 35% for the entire group.

40% of men admit to working on vacation

We asked all poll respondents whether they have worked while on vacation. Forty percent of men and 26% of women responded that they have worked while on vacation. Here are the responses broken down by age group:

Have you ever worked while on vacation?

Age Group% of age group who said yes
18-22 Years34.6%
23-38 Years44.8%
39-54 Years38.2%
55-73 Years16.7%
74+ Years10.4%

Forty-seven percent of people agreed that traveling by plane has become more difficult in the last five years. While most say their opinion about TSA hasn't changed in recent years, 34% feel more positively about TSA. 52% of Americans feel at least somewhat comfortable going through security at the airport, and 26% feel very comfortable. As it turns out, Americans’ biggest air travel concern is safety (37%), followed by delays and cancelations (21%).

Methodology

ValuePenguin commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,047 Americans, with the sample base proportioned to represent the general population. The survey was fielded July 26-30, 2019.

Joe Resendiz

Joe Resendiz is a former investment banking analyst for Goldman Sachs, where he covered public sector and infrastructure financing. During his time on Wall Street, Joe worked closely with the debt capital markets team, which allowed him to gain unique insights into the credit market. Joe is currently a research analyst who covers credit cards and the payments industry. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where he majored in finance.

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How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).