Shorter, More Frequent Trips Gain Popularity Among International Travelers, and Traveling with Cash Can Cause Anxiety, According to Visa Study
Visa’s Global Travel Intentions Study of more than 15,000 globetrotters finds carrying cash can come with concerns for travelers worldwide
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Visa’s cashless solutions offer the freedom to pay anywhere in the world while helping you get a competitive exchange rate when you pay in local currency. (Photo: Business Wire)
2018 Macro Trends in Travel
In addition to examining the motivations and planning tactics, the GTI Study of outbound travelers from 27 countries and territories also uncovered a number of macro trends expected to continue into 2018:
- Trips are getting shorter: The global average is now eight nights, down from 10 nights on average in 2013.
- More trips abroad: Globally, people are planning to take more trips in the future, from an average of 2.5 trips in the past two years to 2.7 trips in the next two years. The
Americaslead the pack in number of trips in the past two years, taking an average of 3.2 trips in 2017.
- Technology is helping some travelers better navigate their destinations: 88 percent of travelers gained online access while abroad. Almost half (44 percent) use ride-sharing apps to get around once they are on the ground.
- Multi-destination: 11 percent of global travel includes visits to multiple countries.
Japan, the United Statesand Australiaare the most visited countries: Japanhas overtaken the United Statesas the most popular destination for global travelers in the past two years. Regional preferences prevail, though, with travelers in the Asia Pacificregion leaning heavily toward Japanas a travel destination. American travelers prefer continental Europe, though Mexico, Canadaand Japanare also highly desirable.
- Top spenders: Saudi Arabians are the top spenders when it comes to what travelers spend on their entire trips, including the booking stage as well as expenditures at the destination, with Chinese, Australians, Americans and Kuwaitis rounding out the top five.
Simplifying Payment Abroad
Travelers are increasingly using technology to plan their trips and navigate their destinations – 83 percent of travelers used technology for this purpose in 2017 compared to 78 percent in 2015. Yet the majority of them are still decidedly analog when it comes to making payments internationally.
While many travelers use cards while on vacation, most (77 percent) still prefer to use cash when making purchases. Using a Visa card to pay in local currency could help international travelers get a more competitive exchange rate and possibly help them avoid being hit with hidden currency conversion fees when they get home. The Study also found the following themes related to the use of cash while traveling internationally:
- Cash causes anxiety: Travelers cited loss of cash or theft as a top money concern while on trips.
- Big Spenders: The average global traveler spends
US$1,793per trip, yet the global median amount of cash brought to destination globally clocks in at a whopping US$7781.
- Trade-off: In order to travel with that much cash, 72 percent of people prepared their foreign currency prior to their departure date.
- Telling sign: Only slightly more than one in ten people made an ATM withdrawal at their destination. Security at ATMs is one area of concern affecting this statistic, cited by nearly one in five travelers as a barrier to using an ATM. Travelers from
Europe, the Middle Eastand Africaare, however, more likely to withdraw cash during vacation compared to those from other regions.
- Leftover cash: A whopping 87 percent have leftover cash after their trips, but only 29 percent convert it back to currency they can actually use at home. The global median leftover amount is
“We are excited to see the desire for global travel grow as technology becomes integral in every stage of the travelers’ journey,” said
Tips for Stress-Free Payment While Traveling
- Use your Visa card to pay in “local currency” to get a competitive exchange rate and help avoid getting stuck with hidden currency conversion fees when you get home.
- Use a credit or debit card for purchases. Visa offers security, convenience and ease when paying abroad. It may be considered safer than carrying cash, and is backed by Visa’s Zero Liability Policy2, which states accountholders won’t be held responsible for unauthorized charges on their account.
- Whenever possible, pay through a chip-activated terminal when using your credit or debit card for enhanced security.
- Look for the Visa or PLUS logo at any point-of-sale terminal or ATM to ensure these international payment cards are accepted.
More GTI Findings
The average global traveler spends
Intended spend for next leisure travel versus previous trip (Median US$)*
|Region||Last trip||Next trip||Percent change|
|Africa & Middle East||US$2,666||US$2,666||0% Increase|
|Asia Pacific||US$1,677||US$2,443||45.68% Increase|
|North and South Americas||US$2,248||US$2,840||26.34% Increase|
Among the top global spenders, travellers from
Top five global markets – intended spending amount for next international trip (Median US$)**
|Saudi Arabia||China||Australia||United States||Kuwait|
Top five global markets – amount spent on last international trip (median US$)*
For more information about Visa’s Global Travel Intentions Study visit Visa.com/TravelStudy.
About Global Travel Intentions 2017
The Global Travel Intentions Study analyzes travel behavior and tourism spending patterns of global travelers. A comprehensive study monitoring and analyzing international travel trends and consumer travel behavior, the Study is part of Visa’s continued commitment to helping industry players in their pursuit of growth in the global travel and tourism industry. Visa’s GTI Study was conducted in conjunction with research and business intelligence firm
1 US Dollar equivalent of local currencies
2 Visa's Zero Liability Policy does not apply to Visa corporate or Visa purchasing card or account transactions, or any transactions that are not processed by Visa. For specific restrictions, limitations and other details, please consult your issuer.
* Median amount intend to spend for next trip (USD)
** Median amount spent last international trip (USD)