Many older Americans plan to take long trips soon, but could change plans if COVID peaks at their destination

Nearly one in three older adults are planning to pack their bags for a long trip far from home next year, and many are looking forward to vacation travel in the next two months, a new poll finds.

But among those ready to hit the road or take to the skies for an extended vacation, many said they would consider local COVID-19 cases at their destination and potentially change their travel plans if rates changed there. to rise.

The new data comes from a report by the National poll on healthy aging, aimed at adults ages 50 to 80 who have recently taken or plan to travel two weeks or more, 100 miles or more from home.

Only 17% of respondents said they had made such long-haul trips in the past year, but 31% said they plan to do so in the coming year. One in four older adults said they plan to travel during the upcoming holiday season, from now to January.

If COVID-19 cases increase at their destination, 20% of these potential travelers said they would definitely change their plans, and another 52% said they might.

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Older adults who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 were much less likely to say they would consider changes to their travel plans caused by COVID-19, even though they are less protected against serious illness than most vaccinated older adults.

The poll is based on the University of Michigan Institute for Care Policy and Innovation and supported by AARP and Michigan Medicine, UM’s academic medical center.

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‚ÄúTravel, especially after being close to home for so many months, can give many older adults a much-needed break from their everyday environment and a chance to feel a sense of normalcy, or to reconnect with friends and family who are have been separated from each other for so long,” said Preeti Malani, MD, the polling director and an infectious disease physician at Michigan Medicine. “Vaccinated older adults should still be aware of COVID-19 activity at their destination, but most are at much lower risk of developing a serious infection than their unvaccinated peers.”

A recent short report from the poll team showed that: the vast majority of adults over 50 have been vaccinated against COVID-19and that a majority of them plan to receive or have received a booster or third dose.

Other travel-related health problems

The poll also asked respondents how they would deal with health problems that might arise while traveling and what they are doing to prepare for them.

Of those who had taken a longer trip in the past year, 10% reported receiving medical care while traveling.

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