2021 summer travel: As likely among vaccine rejectors as among the vaccinated

May 25, 2021, 7:00 PM GMT+0

Are you traveling this summer? If you are, you will join more than a third of Americans (37%) in the latest Economist/YouGov poll, most of whom will keep their trips within the United States.

While Republicans (43%) are slightly more likely than Democrats (36%) to say they will be traveling this summer, there are major differences in travel plans by income and education. Most Americans with a household income above $100,000 (58%) intend to travel this summer, compared to 40% of those with a household income between $50,000 to $100,000. Just one-quarter (26%) of those with a household income under $50,000 have travel plans. Senior citizens (37%) are just as likely as those under the age of 30 (35%) to be planning for travel.

Those who are yet to be vaccinated but plan to get the shot (21%) and those who aren’t sure whether they will be vaccinated (22%) are the least likely to say they will travel this summer. However, those who will not get the vaccine are as likely to travel this summer (40%) as those who have completed (42%) or begun (44%) the vaccination process.

Four in five (82%) travelers overall (and 85% of traveling vaccine rejectors) will only travel within the United States, and most in every group will be traveling by car. However, more than a third of those who will travel (36%) will take a plane to their destinations, with the vaccinated (38%) only somewhat more likely than those who will not get vaccinated (31%) to say they will be flying somewhere this summer.

Are these travel plans safe?

With European countries opening their borders, summer travel may tempt even more Americans. While many who are in the process of becoming vaccinated or are fully vaccinated are still not sure about the safety of airplanes and cruise ships, there is little hesitancy among those who reject the vaccine entirely when it comes to their beliefs about travel safety.

Overall, the American public doubts that it is safe for unvaccinated people to travel by air (32% of adults think it’s safe) or ship (29% think it is safe), but most vaccine rejectors disagree and find them safe options. Three in five (60%) unvaccinated adults think it’s safe for them to travel by plane, and 59% say the same for cruise ships.

Meanwhile, many of the vaccinated hesitate when it comes to the safety of travel for people like themselves. Most (59%) think planes are safe, but just 45% think it’s safe for vaccinated people to get on a cruise ship.

Belief that travel by plane or cruise ship is safe is higher among both the vaccinated and the non-vaccinators those who plan to travel this summer. Three-quarters in each group say flights are safe for them (73% of the unvaccinated who intend to travel, and the vaccinated who have summer travel plans.

See the toplines and crosstabs from this week’s Economist/YouGov poll

Related: Two-thirds of Americans approve of sending COVID-19 vaccines overseas

Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 US Adult Citizens interviewed online between May 15 - 18, 2021. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the US Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all US citizens. The margin of error is approximately 2.7% for the overall sample.

Image: Getty