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Winter Travel Survey Reveals Upcoming Seasonal Trends

WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez dives into the Winter Travel Survey results.
Photo: Shutterstock

WalletHub has released the results of its 2022 Winter Travel Survey, along with its updated list of the Best Credit Cards for Winter Travel and key money-saving tips for domestic and international travelers.

Among the key takeaways:

  • Rate Hikes Deflating Travel Plans: 40 percent of people say the Federal Reserve’s rate hikes will affect their travel plans this winter.
  • Inflation Spooking Travelers: 69 percent of people are worried about inflation when it comes to travel.
  • Credit-Fueled Travel is Common: More than 1 in 4 people plan to apply for a new credit card to save on winter travel. Applying for the right card now will give people enough time to earn up to $750 in free travel.
  • Travelers Paying with Points, Miles, & Cash Back: 55 percent of people plan to redeem rewards to help with winter holiday expenses.
  • Gas Prices Put the Brakes on Road Trips: Nearly 60 percent of people say gas is too expensive for a road trip this winter.

Here, WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez dives into the survey results:

Are the Federal Reserve’s rate hikes impacting travel plans this winter?
The average household has around $8,558 in credit card debt, and people’s balances are getting more and more expensive thanks to recent Fed rate hikes, leaving travel budgets bare. People with credit card debt are expected to pay $20.9 billion more than they would have absent any Fed hikes.” 
 
Is inflation affecting people’s travel plans?
The survey found that 69 percent of people are worried about inflation when it comes to travel. People simply have less money left to spare for luxuries like travel when the prices of everyday items are inflated. Even trying to economize by taking a road trip rather than flying is unlikely to provide much relief. Nearly 60 percent of people say that gas is too expensive for a road trip this winter.
 
Are people planning to use credit card rewards to pay for winter travel?
The survey found that 55 percent of people are planning to use credit card rewards to help pay for a trip this winter. Using rewards you have saved up is a great way to keep your new expenses to a minimum, but it’s important to make sure you’re not sacrificing value by redeeming points for travel. You should be able to easily determine the value of your rewards with each redemption method available to you via your online account.
 
Is it common for people to apply for new credit cards just to save on one trip?
More than 1 in 4 people plan to apply for a new credit card to save on travel this winter. The best travel credit cards can save winter travelers more than $750, so taking advantage of the latest deals can be a very effective strategy.
 
What tips do you have for people trying to take advantage of credit cards this winter?
People looking to take advantage of credit card perks this winter should definitely consider applying for a new card. There are a few different reasons why getting a new credit card is a money-saving move:

  • Credit cards are currently offering very attractive initial rewards bonuses, which could subsidize or completely pay for winter travel and other seasonal expenses.
  • If you anticipate having trouble paying off holiday expenses in a single billing period, taking advantage of 0 percent introductory APR credit card offers while they last could save you a bundle on interest.
  • If you’re headed abroad for the holidays, bringing a credit card with no foreign transaction fees is a must. It could save you up to 9 percent compared to exchanging hard currency.  
  • If the economy takes a turn for the worse, credit card offers are likely to get much less attractive.
About The Author
julieKeller_author-1

Julie is the co-founder of Well Defined and a longtime influencer and advocate in the wellness world. Along with her work at Well Defined, she is an executive recruiter and marketing specialist for Hutchinson Consulting. She is also a consultant and content strategist for numerous wellness brands. She is the former editor-in-chief and publisher of American Spa and was named a 2019 Folio Top Woman in Media in the Industry Trailblazers category and a 2018 winner of ISPA’s Innovate Award. She is also a seasoned journalist, specializing in spa, travel, health, fitness, wellness, sustainability, and beauty. She has been published in Departures, ForbesTraveler.com, E! Online, Gayot.com, Insider’s Guide to Spas, Luxury Travel Advisor, Marin Magazine, Ocean Home, Smart Meetings, Spa Asia, and Travel Agent.