New Survey Finds Post-Pandemic Travel Will Pose Challenges Old and New

As things get back to normal, Wise study finds that among 82% of those surveyed, international travel is something they're looking forward to the most

September 27, 2021 07:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Wise today released the Wise International Travel Survey, assessing U.S. international travelers’ attitude and willingness to travel abroad. This comes on the heels of the White House announcing that the U.S. will reopen in November to air travelers from 33 countries who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. According to the three market study of consumers, 82% of U.S. travelers say that as things get back to normal, international travel is one of the things that they’re looking forward to most. While 72% expressed that they are currently planning an international trip.

While the Delta Variant still presents challenges for international travel, consumers are keen to go abroad again  Lindsey Grossman, director of product, North America for Wise

“While the Delta Variant still presents challenges for international travel, consumers are keen to go abroad again,” said Lindsey Grossman, director of product, North America for Wise. “Even while the pandemic has sadly kept people away from their friends and family abroad, thankfully Wise has been able to keep them connected financially - ensuring they can send money to friends and family internationally with no hidden foreign exchange fees. Additionally, when Americans begin to travel again, we’ll be there to support them on the financial side - making life easier for the many customers who told us in the survey that they are worried about the financial challenges of traveling abroad: from ensuring their debit cards work overseas and making sure they don’t get hit with hidden fees.”

Additional findings from the Wise International Travel Survey conducted in the U.S., Brazil and Canada include:

  • Generational Differences: Millennials find it more challenging to take time away from work but are more likely to travel abroad in the near future, with 41% noting that it would be challenging to take time away from work now for travel, versus 9% for ages 55+.
  • Yearning for Culture: Among other things, U.S. travelers miss learning about different countries and cultures (54%), seeing new sights (50%), and experiencing environments they can’t get in their own country (49%).
  • Looming Challenges: The pandemic still presents challenges for international travel, and the Delta Variant is affecting US International Travelers’ plans especially. In fact, 77% find COVID-19 related challenges, including navigating vaccine and testing requirements, as the most difficult barriers U.S. travelers face now when planning an international trip. Further, 86% found ensuring their health and safety from the virus, as a challenge.
  • Financial Woes: When it comes to financial pain points when traveling abroad, 34% of those surveyed said that credit or debit cards not working in destination and inflated exchange rates (33%) were of concern, while more than a quarter (27%) also find the hassle of exchanging currencies as one of their greatest financial challenges. Beyond these, other financial challenges U.S. travelers have faced when travelling internationally include: unexpected delays / changes to itinerary (46%), last minute purchases (28%), p of excursions / tourist attractions (37%), flight and baggage fees (44%), hotel prices (42%) and shopping prices (28%).
  • Converting Currencies:While many may be aware that airport-based currency exchange offer some of the worst inflated exchange rates, 31% of U.S. travelers still convert into local currency at the airport, while 31% convert into local currency at a local exchange shop, 27% at a local ATM and 34% ahead of time / before they leave.
  • Managing Finances: When traveling internationally, 28% of U.S. travelers say that they visit places that accept their home currency, while 27% pay for big things in advance with an online money transfer service. Meanwhile, 16% have their friends or family pay for them.

The Wise International Travel Survey is the latest in a series of Wise initiatives to provide consumers with the insights they need to travel internationally. Launched in 2011 with the vision of making international money transfers cheap, fair, and simple, Wise now helps over 10 million customers manage their money across the world through their Multi-Currency Account. More information on the resources and tools Wise provides is available on their site.


This poll was conducted between August 27-29, 2021 among a national sample of 500 International Travelers in the US. The interviews were conducted online, and Morning Consult employed robust sampling and weighting strategies guided by Census measurements to ensure our final data is nationally representative according to gender, age, household income, educational attainment, race, ethnicity, and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

About Wise

Wise is a global technology company, building the best way to move money around the world. With the Wise account people and businesses can hold over 40 currencies, move money between countries and spend money abroad. Large companies and banks use Wise technology too; an entirely new cross-border payments network that will one day power money without borders for everyone, everywhere. However you use the platform, Wise is on a mission to make your life easier and save you money.

Co-founded by Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus, Wise launched in 2011 under its original name TransferWise. It is one of the world’s fastest growing, profitable technology companies and is listed on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker, WISE.

16 million people and businesses use Wise globally, which processes £9 billion in cross-border transactions every month, saving customers around £1.5 billion a year.

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