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Visa: Americans Keep Traveling Despite Rising Costs

travel, travel payments

Rising costs haven’t stamped out the travel bug for Americans, a new Visa survey shows.

The new edition of the Visa Global Travel Intentions Study, released Tuesday (Nov. 28), shows that while consumers are aware of rising costs, it hasn’t deterred them from wanting to travel.

Americans expect a seamless, digitally connected travel journey whether they are here in the U.S. or abroad,” Kirk Stuart, Visa’s head of North America Merchant, Acquiring & Enablement, said in a news release provided to PYMNTS. 

“By using the insights from this study to elevate digital payments, Visa and our travel partners can create more seamless travel experiences for consumers,” he added.

The survey showed that while travel costs have increased 4.4%, 73% of Americans are aware of those increases, though just 6% of travelers plan to cancel or delay their plans.

It also found that digital wallets have become a key part of travel for 74% of those surveyed, something that was the case primarily among affluent travelers (83%) and millennials (82%).

Cash, meanwhile, is a source of stress. Travelers prefer using it, but they also worry about it being stolen and paying for currency conversion. Respondents on average had $40 USD in unused local currency leftover, leading 24% of them to feel obligated to make a purchase to use up that excess foreign cash.

As for people visiting the U.S., those travelers have embraced cashless options, Visa said, with 98% carrying payment cards and 54% using digital wallets. 

“However, for those that did carry cash, about 45% encountered a cash-related issue, including handling dollars and coins, finding money changers, inability to make a purchase because they ran out of dollars or lost cash,” the company said. 

Visa’s findings are in line with recent research from PYMNTS Intelligence and i2c that shows that Americans continue to prioritize travel in the face of economic uncertainty.

“This trend applies to all generations, but it’s Gen X and millennial consumers who are driving the surge in travel expenses,” PYMNTS wrote recently. “Furthermore, rising inflation and high costs have pushed some individuals to defer their travel payments by using credit options, or alternatively adjusting their plans to still enjoy their holidays.”

According to “The Credit Economy: How Consumers Financed Their Summer Travel,” the number of leisure travelers grew by 22% this year compared to 2022. This increase was largely driven by Generation X and millennials, who accounted for roughly 31% and 28% of this expenditure, respectively.