Press Release

Nearly 40% of Americans Will Travel This Thanksgiving

Oracle survey shows majority of travelers plan to stick within driving distance

Austin, TexasNovember 23, 2021

Many Americans are ready to hit the road this Thanksgiving, but most won’t stray far, according to a new Oracle survey. Nearly 40% of Americans plan to travel over the Thanksgiving holiday, with 26% of that total planning to stay within driving distance of home and just 8% planning to fly domestically.  Among the homebodies, 29% noted concerns over COVID-19 while 15% cited high gas prices and 14% blamed soaring airfare costs.

“The hospitality industry continues to see a strong return to travel as people look forward to getting away and spending the holidays with family and friends after a long hiatus,” said Alex Alt, senior vice president and general manager, Oracle Hospitality. “Hotels continue to be creative in welcoming the local traveler as many people are still opting to vacation within driving distance. This includes relying more on technology to create an easy, yet safe environment for travelers, including elements such as contactless payments and check-in.”

The survey of 2,085 Americans in New York, Chicago, Dallas, and San Francisco was run by Untold Insights November 11-16, 2021. Respondents were asked to reflect on their travel plans for Thanksgiving.


Planes, trains, and automobiles

Thirty-nine percent of Americans plan to travel over the Thanksgiving holiday, with:

  • 26% traveling within driving distance
  • 8% planning to fly domestically and just 2% internationally
  • 3% traveling via train or bus

Get-aways and family stays

While COVID-19 and high costs were deterrents for some, others can’t wait to get out after a long stretch at home. Top reasons for travel over the holiday or in the coming months included:

  • 44% of people said seeing family for the first time in months (51% for Gen Z and 48% for Millennials)1
  • 40% getting much needed time away
  • 31% traveling for personal events, like weddings
  • 25% taking the first vacation in over a year
  • 15% getting out to a live event, like a concert or sports game

Would you rather…

We asked consumers what they would rather do than endure another 18 months with no travel:

  • 20% said they would take a middle seat for every future flight
  • 18% would eat airplane food as Thanksgiving dinner
  • 15% said they would endure a cross country flight full of screaming babies

Travel perks

To make their trip extra special and persuade them to not cancel, consumers said they would be swayed by:

  • 33% a complimentary hotel room upgrade (49% for Millennials)
  • 30% getting spa or food and beverage credits (44% for Millennials)
  • 24% getting moved to first class on an airline

Pandemic driven technology changes here to stay

In an earlier survey2, 76% of hoteliers agreed that the pandemic accelerated their roll-out of technology. These features and amenities that became a necessity during the pandemic, have become the norm moving forward as consumers return to travel through the holidays and beyond:

  • 76% of hoteliers are providing contactless payment options
  • 36% self-service check-in
  • 59% digital messaging services to limit staff and guest interactions
  • 42% smartphone-based room keys

For their part, consumers want to see:

  • 45% contactless payment options
  • 38% room keys/locks activated by their smart phone
  • 31% digital messaging options to help reduce contact with staff

1 GenZ (18-24); Millennials (25-39); GenX (40-54); Baby Boomers (55+)
2 The Skift and Oracle survey in May 2021 interviewed 4,467 global consumers and 537 hotel executives (including 773 people and 160 hoteliers in North America). View the full global report at:

Learn more about how Oracle Hospitality is helping independent hoteliers, global and regional chains, gaming, and cruise lines leverage technology to navigate a fast changing market at

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