Report: 30 million Americans to travel abroad in 2018

International travel up 9 percent, travel insurance sales up 13 percent in two years. 


DENVER (Aug. 6, 2018) – More than 30 million Americans will travel abroad in 2018, according to a recent survey from AAA Travel. That's an increase of 9 percent since 2016, amid growing consumer confidence and increasing numbers of international destinations available to U.S. travelers. 

As international travel grows in popularity, more Americans view their vacations as investments – and are more likely to purchase travel insurance. Per AAA research, nearly 40 percent of Americans will purchase travel insurance for future international trips. Nine in 10 of those say that trip cancellation protection, or insurance that allows them to get their money back if they cancel a trip, is a top priority.

After the cost of their trip (70 percent), the leading influencers for travelers deciding whether to purchase travel insurance are: personal or family health concerns (69 percent); how far in advance the trip is booked (61 percent); and recommendations to purchase insurance by friends or family (57 percent).

All told, travel insurance sales are up 13 percent since 2016 and 20 percent year-to-date. Why? Not only are more Americans traveling abroad, they're also spending more money on those trips –  and want to protect their investments. In 2017, AAA members insured trips that were approximately 18 percent more expensive than the previous year, according to AAA's 30-year travel insurance partner Allianz Global Assistance.

"The allure of international travel is, in many ways, the unknown," said AAA Colorado spokesman Skyler McKinley. "But there are many unknowns, such as family emergencies and natural disasters, that can throw an unexpected wrench into a planned vacation. Nobody wants that, so more Americans are choosing travel insurance and, with it, peace of mind."

What's covered?

  • You landed, your bags didn't. Airlines mishandled more than 22 million bags in 2017. Travel insurance can provide coverage to replace needed items if luggage is delayed, damaged or stolen.
  • Sick happens. Insurance may help cover medical expenses while traveling, internationally and in the United States. Many hospitals outside of the country require cash payments before providing treatment.
  • Health insurance. Most health insurance policies don't cover international travel. Travel insurance can help cover medical expenses and costly medical evacuation back to the United States in emergencies.
  • Flight delays and cancellations. Airlines may not cover all the costs associated with a delayed or cancelled flight. Travel insurance can help reimburse expenses such as re-booking fees, meals and accommodations.
  • Economic uncertainties. The loss of a job or other income may mean having to postpone a trip planned in advance. Travel insurance can help travelers recoup their costs when funds are tight.
  • Not all policies cover all circumstances. Make sure to review your policy's terms and conditions before you travel, and to work with your travel agent to get the coverage you need. 

AAA's travel insurance research findings are the result of a telephone survey (landline and cell phone) consisting of 1,003 adults living in the continental United States. Interviewing for this survey was conducted June 21-24, 2018. This study has an average statistical error of ±4 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for all U.S. adults.

About AAA Colorado

More than 675,000 members strong, AAA Colorado is the state's greatest advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. As North America's largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 58 million members with travel, insurance, financial, and automotive-related services - as well as member-exclusive savings. For more information, visit