What is revenge travel and why is everyone talking about it?

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Revenge travel sounds like the plot of a superhero movie.

The protagonist is gravely wronged by a powerful villain, channels their anger and bitterness into an elaborate plan to seek revenge, and an epic battle ensues in which justice ultimately prevails. But instead of a superhero it’s the average consumer, instead of a battle, it’s making travel plans, and instead of a powerful villain, it’s a deadly global virus.

After years of staying in, people are eager to get back out into the world and travel. But for many, travel plans have the added purpose of sticking it to the virus that has taken millions of lives, mangled global economies, deepened political divides, and caused a mental health crisis.

For a disease that cruelly imposes social isolation, travel seems like the best way to get revenge.

What is revenge travel?

Revenge travel is a term that means traveling as a way of making up for lost time during the pandemic. There isn’t one concrete definition or origin, but it generally refers to the frustration and anger that people felt towards COVID-19 for cancelling their plans and disrupting their lives.

The term started as a prediction in 2020 about how people would respond when it became safer to travel, but that prediction has fully come true. According to a survey conducted in May 2022 by the American Society of Travel Advisors, travel is surging.

Despite economic pressures, people are spending more money on travel over things like home improvement, technology, and sporting equipment (sorry Peloton). The same report says two thirds of people plan to travel before the year’s end.

And the revenge travel trend isn’t just isolated to the U.S. or certain regions. 49 percent of survey participants are “very eager to travel internationally without hesitation.” Top international destinations are Western Europe followed by the Caribbean.

Domestically, 85 percent of Americans are planning to travel this summer, and travel spending is close to pre-pandemic numbers.

Why is revenge travel surging now?

Simply put, travel restrictions are easing all over the world. The CDC no longer requires masks on public transportation, and the U.S. recently lifted mandatory COVID-19 testing for incoming international travelers. The majority of countries in Europe have lifted all or most of their restrictions.

Despite the fact that highly transmissible strains of COVID are still raging, experts are saying it’s safer to travel now if you take precautions.

The added costs of seeking revenge on ‘rona

Alongside travel demand, prices are surging too. With factors like inflation, labor shortages, and gas prices, it’s gonna cost you to book that revenge vacation. The aforementioned factors have also thrown a wrench into ease of travel. Delays and cancellations have been on the rise, and the sudden influx of travelers is causing long lines at airports and other slowdowns.

But what’s a little wait at the airport compared to years of pandemic-induced solitude? If you got through that, you might be willing to stick it out a little longer. The revenge will only get sweeter with time.





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