In the kNOW – Summer Plans: Will We Stay or Will We Go?

Friends partying on the beach

With lockdowns hopefully a thing of the past, we found ourselves curious about what summer plans look like for everyone. Are folks planning to travel or stick close to home? We surveyed over 1,300 Americans and what we found says we’re hopeful, but wary. And maybe not as weary of our ‘new normal’ as you might think.

Most of us report we’ll get out of the house more this summer than last (63% T3B: T3B = ‘Strongly agree’, ‘Agree’, ‘Somewhat agree’) and the majority feel safe in public spaces such as restaurants and stores (59% T3B). We’re ready to resume some of our daily, out-and-about activities again and appear confident to do so.

When it comes to summer vacation travel, we’d rather drive than fly to our destinations (54% to 38% T3B, respectively). In fact, over one-third strongly disagree with flying for vacation this summer which isn’t good news for airlines. In mid-April, USA Today, Conde Nast Traveler and others reported that prices for flights would rebound and climb for the summer as more Americans became vaccinated and the CDC loosened restrictions. But if Americans choose to drive instead of fly, these predictions could fall flat. But, some industries may get a reprieve. With more traffic on the roads again, industries like radio and hotels are poised to have a great summer.

When it comes to summertime for the kiddos, over half of us believe kids can safely attend summer camps and other extended overnight functions; parents with kids Under 18yrs in their households even more so than non-parents, 68% to 49%, respectively (T3B). Though vaccines haven’t been available for kids very long and still in testing, statistically, Covid just hasn’t been as hard on them as the rest of us. So, parents may need a respite; ready for kids to be kids again.

And what about other summer fun? Over one-quarter of us strongly disagree that we plan to attend live events like concerts and festivals this summer. Given the last year+ we’ve all experienced, it seems like we’re still being cautious when it comes to crowds.

When it comes to attending outdoor sporting events this summer being very safe, we’re split; 53% at least somewhat agree, while 47% at least somewhat disagree. Further evidence of this divide on event safety is the strong disagreement around measures that venues may decide to put into place. For those that feel it’s safe to attend live events, the safety measures may be off-putting and feel like overkill. But for those who don’t feel live events are safe, there may be no measures that can convince them to attend. Either way, it seems unlikely that live events will be back to pre-pandemic attendance rates this summer.

This time last year, stay-at-home orders were active in many states across the country. But even with no lockdowns in effect and vaccine rates climbing instead of Covid infections, many are choosing a summer close to home. Most are at least somewhat hesitant to visit certain parts of the country on vacation this summer. In fact, over half at least somewhat agree that a ‘staycation’ close to home this summer is a good plan. And over half also plan to do many of the things we did last summer instead of going out a lot.

Last summer, we nested and the Home Improvement Industry had great year. It looks like they may be in for another. Nearly two-thirds at least somewhat agree their summer plans include working on the home, yard, and other household chores/improvements. It may well be that home is where it’s at this summer. But this time it’s our choice.

Of course, the plans many have to stay close to home and not travel this summer isn’t only because of Covid safety concerns. Pandemic life brought a host of challenges: employment, economic, family dynamics, shopping, saving, spending and more. But maybe, just maybe, last summer made us realize that we don’t have to always be on the go to be content. This year many of us plan to enjoy our own backyards, hometowns and local life. And it seems we’re all ready for a cautiously optimistic summer of fun.

Our ‘In the kNOW’ series tackles the burning questions we all want to know about, right NOW. If you have questions you think we should ask, topics we should explore, things you’d like to know more about, shoot me a note at