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National Survey Reveals New Travel Checklist for Planning, Prep and Packing;
Healthcare Tops Rideshare, Telehealth Takes Off as Must-have Apps for Travel

MIRAMAR, Fla., May 20, 2021 – As Memorial Day Weekend approaches, consumer enthusiasm for summer travel is shifting into high gear; however, a new national survey reveals that traditional travel considerations are taking a backseat to personal and family health, and stress and concern are rerouting how consumers are planning and packing for their next trip.

According to the new Safe Travels survey, 68% of consumers say that personal/family health is more important now than other travel considerations like destination, travel activities and mode of travel when thinking about travel planning. As a result, nearly six in ten consumers (58%) will research one or more health care services when planning their next trip.

The Safe Travels survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers was conducted by Russell Research on behalf of MDLIVE, an Evernorth company.

While enthusiasm for travel is running high, consumers are showing a healthy dose of preventive pragmatism in their planning: approximately one in three consumers (35%) plans to select less populated destinations or experiences, and one in four (27%) plans to select destinations based on COVID infection rates or vaccination rates, suggesting that COVID considerations continue to play a role in travel planning and decision-making.

The survey also revealed that despite surging vaccination rates, declining infection rates and the CDC’s revisions to domestic travel restrictions and mask requirements, half of consumers (50%) still feel more stressed or worried about traveling now than they did before COVID.

“Consumers have shifted to a pragmatic planning mindset when it comes to traveling and health, said Dr. Cynthia Zelis, chief medical officer, MDLIVE. “Health is no longer an afterthought, but has moved to the front seat of the planning process, perhaps for good.”

After more than a year of uncertainty, the priority of personal/family health while traveling is changing how travelers plan and what they research. Travel research is no longer limited to which resort to stay at, which restaurants to enjoy or which activities to take part in.

While one in four consumers reported they or a family member have gotten sick enough to need medical care on a past trip, far more (60%) are more concerned now about getting sick or needing health care while traveling. And if they hit that bump in the road, they are concerned about being able to find and quickly access the care they may need (75%), or having to spend a lot of time in the waiting room in another region, town or city (75%).

When preparing for those bumps in the road, the biggest shift is towards telehealth: prior to the pandemic, fewer than one in five consumers used telehealth when they or a family member got sick while traveling; nearly one in three (31%) indicated they would use telehealth now.

The survey also found that the COVID pandemic has redefined travel “essentials” when it comes to packing for a trip, starting with digital travel tools.

When asked about the importance of various apps for travel, 64% of consumers indicated that healthcare apps, such as those for health insurance, pharmacy or telehealth provider, are more important now, a higher percentage than for apps for transportation like ride-sharing and airlines (59%); and the importance of healthcare apps for travel was nearly on par with those for roadside assistance (67%) and mapping apps (68%).

Additionally, the travel first aid kit has become more important and is undergoing a refresh as summer travel season approaches. More than half of consumers (52%) are more likely now than pre-COVID to pack a family medical travel kit. Among those who are more likely to pack travel first aid kit, nine out of ten consumers plan to pack OTC medicines like pain relievers and fever reducers; but new essentials have emerged: 87% reported they will pack a digital or traditional thermometer and, in perhaps the most revealing sign of the times, 71% reported they will pack an OTC COVID test.

A vast majority (96%) of consumers who will pack a travel first aid kit reported that packing extra masks is still important, and 65% of consumers overall reported they will continue to wear a mask when traveling.

“Getting sick on a trip is never part of the plan; but if it does happen, who wants to drive around an unfamiliar place looking for an urgent care clinic when you can see a doctor from your hotel room, vacation rental or even your tent?” said Dr. Zelis. “Quick and convenient are key when traveling; MDLIVE has physicians in every state, which means no issues with availability and time zone – within minutes, you can be seen by a physician licensed in the state to which you’ve traveled, ensuring you get quick, convenient, hassle-free care where you are, when you need it.”

The Safe Travels survey was commissioned by MDLIVE, an Evernorth company, and conducted via nationally representative online panel between April 30, 2021 and May 3, 2021.

MDLIVE, an Evernorth company, is a leading provider of virtual health care services in the U.S. with more than 60 million members nationwide. We work with our health plan, health system, and self-insured employer partners to give patients convenient and affordable access to the highest quality medical and behavioral health care, 24/7, from the comfort and safety of their homes. With a vision and passion for changing health care for the better, we are working to improve the patient experience, close the patient-provider accessibility gap, and bring providers opportunities to augment the services they currently offer. To learn more about MDLIVE, visit, download our app, or text “Sophie” to MDLIVE (635483) to register.


Amy Trow, (412) 377-3771

Coyne PR
Courtney Ambrosi, (973) 588-2037
Tess Rollano, (973) 588-2133

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Amy Trow