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How Europeans are traveling in 2022

Given the upheaval of the last few years, we took a deep dive to learn how EU residents are thinking about travel in 2022. Read on to discover our findings!

8 min read

It’s travel season, and many of us are ready to hit the beach, the mountains, or simply camp out in a scenic park. Yet the last few years have seen European travel massively disrupted, mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Given this, many see 2022 as the first chance to have the kind of summer vacation they’ve been dreaming of, and booked their holiday months ago. Others—for a variety of reasons—prefer to stay close to home or book their vacations last-minute. 

To learn more about how Europeans are travelling this year, we surveyed over 12,000¹ N26 customers from eight different countries: Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, and the Netherlands². We asked them questions about what holidays they have planned, how much they’ve budgeted for their trips, and how their concerns about money—and even their carbon footprint—play into their travel plans. Here, we’ll dive into the insights that we learned.  

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Southern Europe wins out as top destination in 2022

Our survey showed a wide variety when it came to European travel plans. Respondents from Ireland were the most prepared, with 65% in total saying they’d booked at least one trip in advance. Yet 31% of all respondents who planned to go on holiday preferred to travel spontaneously, saying they hadn’t booked any trips as of yet. Respondents from Ireland had the lowest rate of spontaneous travel booking, with only 25% saying they had not yet booked a holiday. The French and Italians were the most likely to travel on short notice, with 37% saying they planned to book spontaneously, followed by Spaniards at 36%. 

In terms of timing, Dutch respondents were more likely than other Europeans to go on longer holidays, with 14% saying they had already booked a trip of three weeks or more. 26% of the French respondents are not planning to go on holidays at all this summer—the highest rate of all the countries surveyed—while Ireland had the lowest rate of non-vacationers (10%). 

Travel Trends 2022: Holiday Planning.

When it comes to staying local or traveling abroad, Northern Europeans seem to favor leaving their home country. Austrians opted to travel abroad at a rate of 75%, with Germans following suit at a close 71%. But Belgian respondents won out here: an impressive 93% of Belgian respondents reported that they would be leaving their country for vacation this summer. Conversely, over half of Italians (56%) will vacation domestically this year, followed by 44% Spanish respondents and 39% of French ones. 

Southern Europe was by far the top destination of the countries we surveyed, with an average of 27% of all respondents traveling there this summer. Given that roughly half of Spanish and Italian respondents also opted to stay local, Southern Europe is shaping up to be a major travel trend in 2022. Northern Europe is in second place, with 13% of all travelers heading there. Australia or New Zealand were the destinations with the lower rate of potential visitors—perhaps due to cost or time constraints. 

Travel trends 2022: Holiday destinations Infographic.

Which countries have the highest holiday budget?

Holiday budgets can be a complex calculation for anyone traveling, but the last few years have made the calculation particularly fraught. On the one hand, many individuals and families likely have savings from several years of reduced travel due to the global pandemic—meaning that they may be ready to spend more than usual on a well-deserved trip. On the other hand, inflation and economic uncertainty are an ever-present topic, potentially driving some to avoid spending. 

According to our survey, respondents from Germany, Austria, Ireland, Italy, and the Netherlands are willing to spend the most on their holidays this year. Coming out on top, 54% of Austrians and 53% of German respondents stated that they will spend 41% or more of their monthly income on holidays in 2022.

Conversely, those in Spain and France are going for lower budget holidays this year—29% of those living in Spain, and 30% of those living in France all say they only plan to spend between 5 and 20% of their monthly income on vacation. Interestingly, these were the countries with the highest rates of reported domestic travel. Perhaps budget concerns have prompted respondents to stay local—or, alternatively, they simply plan to allocate a reduced budget given that they won’t travel especially far. 

Some holiday money anxiety may correspond to a limited vacation budget  

When it comes to travel, money can become a source of anxiety for many of us. Our data shows that Dutch and Austrians are most relaxed about their finances when traveling. 58% of Dutch respondents said they don’t worry about their finances at all when travelling, and a whopping 62% of Austrians felt the same. These findings may correlate to the respondents’ available budget. Dutch, German, and Austrian respondents planned to allocate more income toward their holidays, showing that they may have more money to spare for travel. Respondents from these countries often planned their holidays further ahead of time, another insight that may point to a reliance on a stable budget for travel.  

Italy and Spain provide a stark contrast here, with only 18% reporting that they do not worry about holiday finances. On the contrary, nearly half of Spanish respondents (46%) said that they always worry about money on holidays, compared to just 6% of Irish respondents. Italians were the second-most worried at 43%. 

Travel Trends 2022: Holiday finance infographic.

Money anxiety in Spain is highest among the young participants. 50% of people ages 18-29 report that they always worry about money on or before vacations, and that figure is 47% among Italians in the same group. The contrast is particularly striking compared to Austria, where only 6% in the same age group said they always worried. Conversely, nearly half (48%) of Austrians in the same age group state that they don’t worry about money on or before holidays at all. 

With age, however, money anxiety on holiday seems to taper off across Europe, with low percentages of those over 60 reporting consistent money worries on or before vacation, with the lowest rates (1%) in Ireland and the Netherlands. Spain and Italy are exceptions, with even those over 60 reporting that they always worry at a rate of 40%, while the figure was just 25% of French people in the same age group. 

Balancing travel with climate impacts

With the climate crisis looming, many are trying to balance their travel plans with a desire to minimize their carbon footprint. Our survey showed that French respondents cared most about their carbon footprint, with 30% saying it is “very important.” In general, however, respondents considered it “relatively important” at a total average rate of 45%. 

However, when it comes to paying more for offsetting their carbon footprint, some countries appear more willing to spend the extra money. Most respondents said they were willing to pay up to 10% more for their holidays to neutralize their carbon footprint, with the highest being 68% of French respondents. However, 19% on average said they would be willing to pay up to 20%—with Italians having the highest response here at 24%. Given that Italians are also likely to stay local this year, it’s possible that their carbon footprint was a factor in their vacation plans. Overall, the fact that so many participants were interested in shelling out a bit more money to reduce their emissions says a lot about how Europeans are thinking about travel.

Stress-free travel with N26

If you’re preparing for your next vacation, N26 can help you plan ahead and avoid financial anxiety. With free card payments abroad, you’ll never have to worry about pesky foreign transaction fees—regardless of your account. And guess what? With a premium account, like our N26 You account, you can squirrel money away using Spaces sub-accounts, our signature virtual piggy banks that let you save for your unique goals. Plus, N26 You and Metal accounts come with travel insurance, including trip cancellation insurance, flight delay insurance, and luggage coverage³—meaning you can travel with peace of mind. So why wait? Compare plans today and find the account that fits you best! 

¹ The study is based on N26’s analysis of the findings resulting from answers that 2,330 French, 2,075 German,1,712 Spanish, 1,367 Italian, 1,449 Austrian, 1,100 Irish, 770 Dutch, and 610 Belgian N26 customers gave when participating in a voluntary survey that was conducted and sent out in May / June 2022.The questionnaire was sent out digitally via the N26 newsletters and the participation in the survey was voluntary. Participants were informed that the survey is anonymous and does not contain any questions intended to directly identify them, such as asking for names or email addresses. No personally identifiable information from the participants and their responses were and will be connected to the participants and all responses have been and will be treated with confidentiality. Participants were informed that the survey’s results may be published in the form of statistics, and that in this case data will be aggregated by combining all individual survey responses.

² Customers were segmented based on the country in which their account was open and held. 

³ Under Allianz Group Insurance Policy.

By N26

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