Summer travel is the new spring break

New survey from World Nomads shows US college students eager for summer vacation after COVID-19 cancels spring break.


Students vacationing on the beach Photo © Getty/MilosStankovic

Media Release: April 15, 2021 – Oakland, California. With spring break looking different for many students this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, young people are making big summer travel plans, with 66 percent planning to travel, according to a new survey* from leading travel insurer World Nomads.

“To help limit travel and the risk of students contracting COVID-19, many universities have opted to offer a scattered number of shorter breaks, ‘rest and recovery’ days, or cancel spring break altogether,” says Anna Gladman, CEO of World Nomads. “Having fewer, if any, options to travel safely this spring has created great enthusiasm for summer travel.”

Survey data showed the majority of student travelers are planning to travel in their own backyard but some are also keen to explore the world with far-flung destinations.

“We’re seeing a real shift in the type of travel with 18-24-year-olds ditching the long-haul trips to Asia and Europe and subbing them for treks to Central America and Mexico,” says Gladman.

“In addition, the proportion of young people opting for trips between 2-3 months in duration is up 114% from 2019.”

Students are interested in visiting beaches, participating in adventure sports, and simply relaxing during their summer trips compared to other U.S. travelers who indicated that taking road trips and visiting national parks and wildlife reserves are top of the list.

“The data shows that travelers are looking to make safe choices by participating in outdoor activities and using self-contained transportation,” says Gladman.

Fear of contracting COVID-19 is holding back travelers from jetting off with the majority of respondents saying getting vaccinated would help them feel more at ease about travel. Lower COVID-19 case counts were also cited, though student travelers were more concerned about cleaning and safety measures than about the reopening of international borders.

“Although travelers are eager to explore, safety is still top of mind with 50% of student travelers indicating safety was the biggest deciding factor when choosing a new destination versus 22% of the general population,” says Gladman.

“Travel insurance is also a top concern with 84% of travelers overall – and 71% of young people  considering buying travel insurance for their upcoming trips, reflecting an increased awareness of the value of getting protection among every age group.

“Many young people haven’t been able to fully experience the social aspects of college after a year on lockdown. But as they venture out on their summer travels, they can be reassured that they can explore boldly and safely with the protection of a travel insurance plan.”

For more information on World Nomads plans, go to

Key statistics from the World Nomads summer travel survey

  • 66% of student respondents said that they were planning a summer trip.
  • 56% of students said that the “freedom to explore” was what they were looking forward to most about their summer travels.
  • 40% of those not traveling this summer - and 50% among students - said it was because of their fear of contracting COVID-19.
  • Safety was the biggest deciding factor for choosing a new destination for both student and general travelers though young people were more likely to factor in proximity to home in their choice; only 3% of all respondents said that price was a driving decision.
  • Beaches and relaxation were popular among both student and general travelers. Students also ranked adventure sports as a top activity whereas general travelers preferred national parks and wildlife (40%) and road trips (28%).
  • Both student and general travelers said that getting vaccinated is what would make them feel more comfortable to travel, followed by a decline in case counts. Safety and cleaning protocols also lead student concerns whereas 24% of general travelers cited the reopening of international borders.
  • Young people had different ideas of what is important in a travel insurance policy with 20% ranking adventure activities and 16% naming COVID-19 coverage as the most essential components. Trip cancellation (43%) and emergency medical and dental expenses (31%) were favored benefits among general travelers.

*Survey of 306 travelers conducted by World Nomads in March 2021.

Media contact:

Lisa Cheng

Communications Manager


Phone: (510) 806-9466

About World Nomads

World Nomads is a fast-growing online travel company that provides inspiration, advice, safety tips and specialized travel insurance for independent, volunteer and student travelers traveling and studying most anywhere in the world. Our online global travel insurance covers travelers from more than 135 countries and allows you to buy and claim online, 24/7, even while already traveling.