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Reader Survey April 2020

The survey was conducted between 16-20th April on the Wanderlust website. A total of 2,177 people took part.


All of us at Wanderlust are busy planning for life after COVID-19, and it seems that many of our readers are doing the same. In a time when pessimism abounds the desire to travel remains strong, even if it is accompanied by a degree of caution.

How do we know? Well we are pleased to share with you the results of the first in a series of Wanderlust Readership surveys.

Read on to discover how COVID 19 is impacting Wanderlust readers’ travel plans.


80% remain as passionate as ever about travel

Passion for travel remains undimmed with 80% of the 2,177 respondents as excited about travel as ever, and with a quarter determined to tick off their wish list as soon as possible.

Have your views of travel changed?

  • This has made me more determined to get out and tick off my travel wishlist 25%
  • I’m as passionate about travel as ever 55%
  • I’m going to be more cautious about when and where I travel 20%
“If anything, the pandemic has fuelled the fire to get back out there and see the world, as you just don’t know what is around the corner.”

When do you think you’ll be travelling again?

  • As soon as the lockdown is lifted and we can travel again! 28%
  • This summer (all being well) 14%
  • This autumn (all being well) 24%
  • Winter 2020 4%
  • Next year – 2021 11%
  • Too soon to say 19%

70% expect to be travelling this year

When asked how long it will be before they are travelling again our respondents were in bullish mood. 70% hope to be travelling this year as soon as the lockdown is lifted. Although there is no hiding from the fact that travelling this summer is unlikely (only 14% believe this to be realistic), a quarter of those surveyed (24%) are hoping to be back on the road by Autumn.
“When all this is resolved. I hope myself and my fellow travellers will be even more grateful and astounded by this beautiful world. Freedom to travel is a privileged gift. Use it wisely.”

60% are in planning mode

80% of those surveyed are reading and researching travel as much, if not more, than they usually do. The majority of Wanderlust readers (60%) are actively planning, or considering planning, their next trip.

How much time are you spending now reading about and researching travel compared to before the lockdown?

  • The same as usual, or more 76%
  • I'm not, it's too depressing! 24%

And are you planning/researching your next trip?

  • Now / I'm considering several options 61%
  • I'm waiting to see how things pan out in the next few weeks 39%
“I want to continue to escape through your most amazing magazine.”


Domestic and short-haul lead the way

During such uncertain times our readers are putting greater value on the familiarity and security provided by planning trips closer to home. Confidence in domestic and short-haul destinations (43%) leads over long-haul or bucket list destinations (35%). Respondents also ranked safety and hygiene (21%) over value for money.

Which destination will you choose…

I’ll start with something in my own country 24%
I’ll choose somewhere that has reopened, seems safe and over Covid-19 22%
I’ll go somewhere that’s been high on my wishlist 21%
I’ll go somewhere overseas but not too far 17%
I’ll go somewhere longhaul 14%
I’ll choose somewhere good value 2%
"As restrictions are eased, I imagine travelling the UK will become more feasible than going further afield, so my first trips are likely to be UK-based. But once the global situation has stabilised I will certainly be keen to resume travelling further afield. Until then, it will be great to have inspirational Wanderlust content for armchair travelling."

Which of these do you think you’ll travel to in 2020/2021?

Europe 72%
UK 56%
Asia 36%
Africa 23%
North America 26%
Middle East 10%

UK and Europe preferred destinations

Within Europe, England and Scotland came out on top as the preferred next destination for Wanderlust readers. Italy defied expectations claiming third spot.

rest of the world intro?

The Rest of the World saw the USA performing strongly (due in part to the sheer number of American destinations) and Wanderlust reader favourites such as Canada, Australia and Japan mirroring the results of previous Wanderlust Reader Surveys and Wanderlust Reader Travel Awards.

Which of these do you think you’ll travel to in 2020/2021?

Europe 72%
UK 56%
Asia 36%
Africa 23%
North America 26%
Middle East 10%

City breaks and nature prove attractive options

Holiday types are dominated by short stays with 60% of readers looking to dip their toes back in the water with a short trip and/or a city break. General concerns for wellbeing have seen strong showings with those seeking wildlife and nature experiences (56%), or trekking and walking (42%). And being a Wanderlust reader survey, it is no surprise that many are looking for adventure when planning their trip (40%), plus a good dose of Culture, History & Heritage (58%).

Which of these will you be looking to do?

Cities & Short Breaks 61%
Culture, History & Heritage 60%
Adventure 39%
Beach 29%
Cruise (eg expedition cruise, adventure cruise, sailing, river cruise) 14%
Culinary/Gastronomic adventure 13%
Cycling 8%
Wildlife & Nature 56%
Walking and trekking 41%
A tour incorporating different elements 32%
Family travel 13%
Luxury 11%
Winter activities (eg Husky sledding, Northern Lights 9%
Skiing 6%
Diving 6%


Safety and Flexibility Key

Those looking to connect with the Wanderlust readership should not only reassure and promote the safety aspect of the trip, but also consider being as flexible as possible with cancellations, deferments and amendments.

When you do book your next trip, which will be most important for you?

Flexibility in dates, and ability to change them without a charge 4.20
Ability to cancel and get a full refund 4.17
Cheap deal / special offer 2.95
Low deposit 2.07
Safety of the destination 4.60
Hygiene on the trip 3.01
“Please can we change to ““The current situation should make us appreciate that our ability to travel is a privilege - and we should always be conscious of our footprint on the world and local communities. Thank you, Wanderlust, for keeping the travel flag flying.”

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