Money eclipses COVID as top concern for international travel, Wise study finds


More international travelers fear running out of money than contracting virus abroad; affording travel is a bigger deterrent than COVID restrictions

NEW YORK, June 16, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — A new study announced today found that the COVID-19 virus is no longer the biggest stressor for American consumers when it comes to traveling to abroad – it’s money. Commissioned by Wisethe global technology company creating the best way to move money around the world, the study found that 43% of consumers are likely to travel abroad in the next twelve months1Rising costs are impacting the international travel plans of almost half (46%) of consumers.

The study also found that among respondents who are less likely to travel abroad, the biggest deterrent is simply not having the money to afford it (47%), while a more few say COVID is a deterrent (37%), and more than a quarter (27%) cite inflation. Meanwhile, 46% of respondents say running out of money is a major emergency they worry about when traveling abroad, while 42% worry about contracting COVID and having to extend their journey in quarantine at their destination – which, in turn, means more money spent on accommodation, flight changes, meals and other daily expenses.

“While COVID is clearly still a concern, it’s not stopping consumers from travelling. That’s why it’s so important to plan ahead and be prepared for all travel scenarios, and that’s where a strong financial partner comes in,” said Sharon Anne Kean, Senior Director of international expansion at Wise. “Travelers going abroad should make sure they understand foreign exchange rates and transaction fees, and look for a universal account, such as Wise, which can reduce unnecessary costs while helping them pay like a local.”

Other findings from the study include:

Money-saving tips abound… but so do bad habits: The study found widespread money-saving savvy among the majority of consumers, with more than four in five (84%) respondents saying they use money-saving hacks for travel. The most popular methods include: booking on the cheapest days to travel (38%), grocery shopping or eating in (35%), traveling during the destination’s low season (31%), using a card credit with travel bonuses (31%), and the search for the cheapest exchange rates (23%).

At the same time, respondents also admit their ignorance regarding the basics of travel and some bad travel habits. Specifically, a majority (57%) don’t know if there is a cost, or think there is no cost, to spending money abroad. Additionally, when it comes to other habits, consumers indicated that they don’t plan activities in advance (41%), they don’t budget enough money when booking travel plans trip (30%), that they book their trip at the last minute (22%) and that they forget to exchange currencies in advance (17%).

Additionally, more than 1 in 10 (12%) admit to booking travel plans based on what they see on social media without considering budget. That number more than doubles to over 27%, when looking specifically at the Gen Z population.

The great monetary debate: To cash in or not to cash in? : The research also revealed mixed approaches to how consumers plan to pay for overseas travel, and touched on common themes for cash-use versus non-use plans. Of the four in five (79%) who plan to use physical currency, their reasons include wanting to have cash on hand for an emergency (62%), wanting to be ready to pay when a card is not accepted (51%), believing that merchants in their destination will ask them to use cash (31%), and wanting to pay like a local (27%).

Of nearly a quarter (21%) of respondents who do not plan to use physical currency, reasons include: they plan to use a debit or credit card (55%), they fear for their security ( 23%) and they worry about high exchange rates (22%). The same number of respondents (17% each) say they intend to use a digital wallet, plan to visit multiple destinations that require too much currency, or don’t want to have to exchange leftover cash. Additionally, one in 10 (11%) travelers plan to use a money transfer app to pay for purchases abroad.

Manage your money abroad: pay like a local
With the increase in international travel, consumers need convenient, fast and affordable ways to manage their money while on the go. Wise enables consumers and businesses to send, spend, hold and receive in over 50 currencies, at the real exchange rate, without the hidden fees charged by banks and alternative providers. With Wise, travelers can manage their money with ease and focus on what matters most: enjoying their trips abroad.

To learn more about how Wise can help you save while spending abroad, visit:

About the study
On behalf of Wise, Researchscape International surveyed 2,221 U.S. and Canadian adult consumers (ages 18 and older) in May 2022. The results reflected in this press release relate only to the results of the 1,097 U.S. respondents. Results were weighted by age, gender, census division, education level and employment status.

About Wise
Wise is a global technology company, creating the best way to move money around the world. With the Wise account, individuals and businesses can hold over 50 currencies, transfer money between countries, and spend money abroad. Large corporations and banks also use Wise technology; a brand new cross-border payments network that will one day power borderless money 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 most profitable and fastest growing technology companies in the world and is listed on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol WISE.

13 million people and businesses use Wise, which processes more than £6 billion ($8 billion) in cross-border transactions every month, saving customers more than £1 billion (1, $3 billion) per year.


jessica canter
[email protected]

Ben Liwanag
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1 Combines 11% completely likely, 12% very likely, and 20% somewhat likely.

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