McAfee ‘Safer Summer Holidays’ Travel Report Reveals Impact of Cost-of-Living Crisis on Summer Travel and Digital Safety

  • As adults globally get ready for summer travel, inflation and cost-of-living concerns drive 56% of vacationers to seek out bargain holiday deals
  • 1 in 3 people have been scammed when booking or taking trips, with a third (34%) of those losing $1,000 or more
  • 61% of all adults worry more about digital safety than physical safety when on vacation

SAN JOSE, Calif.--()--Today, McAfee Corp., a global leader in online protection, revealed findings from the new ‘Safer Summer Holidays’ Travel Report, which surveyed 7,000 people across seven countries to discover how safe it is to plan and book travel online, and how cautious people are when interacting with digital tools while traveling abroad.

The research reveals 30% of adults have fallen victim or know someone who has fallen victim to an online scam while trying to save money when booking travel. 34% of those who had money stolen have lost over $1,000 before their trip has even begun, while 66% lost up to $1,000.

62% of all vacationers will travel domestically this year and 42% will do so internationally. With inflation and the cost-of-living crisis, the research reveals new concerns for leisure-seekers who, in their quest for a good deal, may be more likely to fall for a scam. With 94% of people booking travel online this year, it can be easy to get lured into a deal that’s too good to be true. In today’s economic environment, adults are more likely to seek out a bargain deal online (56%), move quickly to snap up a deal (45%), try a new booking site (35%) and even a new destination (36%), in order to save money. However, travel seekers need to stay vigilant to avoid falling for a scam.

Travel scams can take many forms, with the research finding 14% of all adults have been tricked into making payments through fraudulent platforms and 18% have had their identity stolen when booking online. Of this portion, 7% entered passport information and 11% provided other personally identifiable information to a fake website.

Discrepancy Between Consumers’ Sentiments & Behaviors

The research also uncovered a discrepancy between people’s sentiments and behaviors, as well as online safety best practices when travelling.

In total, 61% of people are more concerned about digital threats than physical ones, such as being pickpocketed, and 85% of adults hold either some or high concern around their identity being compromised as part of their travel. Despite this, 48% admitted to being less security conscious when on holiday. Whether it’s connecting to Wi-Fi networks even though they look a bit suspicious (22%), using a free USB charging port at an airport or train station (26%), or leaving their Netflix account logged in after checking out of their accommodation (17%), significant numbers of people have engaged in activities that could put them at increased risk of crime while traveling.

It’s not that people are unaware of the dangers either. While 44% of people think their personal information is less secure when they connect to the internet while on vacation, less than half (43%) make use of any services to monitor the safety of their online identity, and 50% don’t use a VPN while on vacation. Of those that do, 20% only do so because they want to stream geo-specific content.

Knowing the risks doesn’t stop travelers from engaging in the behavior. While social media is by far the most common online activity for people to use their phones for while on vacation (60%), also common are chatting with friends and family (55%), online banking (35%) and sending money via apps such as PayPal or Venmo (22%).

Of course, it’s not just adults that use the internet while traveling, with 62% of respondents saying that their children spend time online, too. The relaxed attitude also applies to the kids, with 39% of parents saying they’re either less vigilant when it comes to monitoring their children’s internet use while on vacation or only do so when at home.

“People are often more relaxed and carefree when away from home, but it’s never been more important to remain vigilant when traveling,” says Cagla Ruacan, McAfee’s Head of Product Strategy and Insights. “From the moment you open your laptop to book a vacation, to when you log into airport Wi-Fi while waiting for the flight home, staying alert and taking precautions helps keep yourself and your loved ones safe from online travel scams. Taking early and proactive steps to manage your security, privacy and online identity means you’ll be able to more safely and confidently enjoy your well-earned vacation.”

How to Protect Yourself from Online Summer Travel Scams

  • Think before you click. Cybercriminals use phishing emails or fake sites to lure people into clicking links that could lead to malware. If you receive an email asking you to click on a link, even if the travel deal sounds great, it’s best to avoid interacting with the message altogether. Always go direct to the source and book with reputable companies.

  • Connect with caution. Be cautious when connecting to public Wi-Fi while on vacation and make sure the Wi-Fi is secure and attached to a trusted source. Use a virtual private network (VPN) to keep your connection secure and to protect your personal data and activity as you bank, shop, and browse online.

  • Check before you book. When confirming if a privately-owned vacation rental is legitimate, check the name of the property owner in public records. Don't pay for rentals by wire transfer, prepaid cards or gift cards. These types of transactions often can't be reversed if the rental offer is fraudulent.

  • Use a holistic security solution with identity and privacy protection. From identifying malicious sites before booking, use of VPN, to identity theft protection that safeguards and monitors for personally identifiable information, a holistic security solution such as McAfee+ can give you peace of mind this summer travel season.

For more information about how to better protect yourself online and learn about McAfee’s products and services, visit

Survey Methodology

The survey was conducted by market research agency MSI Research between April 13 and April 19, 2023. An online questionnaire was completed by a sample of 7,054 adults aged 18 and over from seven countries. The sample size completed per country is as follows: 1,009 respondents in the US; 1,009 respondents in the UK; 1,007 respondents in France; 1,007 respondents in Germany; 1,004 respondents in Japan; 1,008 respondents in Australia; 1,010 respondents in India.

About McAfee

McAfee Corp. is a global leader in online protection for consumers. Focused on protecting people, not just devices, McAfee’s consumer solutions adapt to users’ needs in an always online world, empowering them to live securely through integrated, intuitive solutions that protect their families and communities with the right security at the right moment. For more information, please visit

Release Summary

McAfee revealed findings from the new ‘Safer Summer Holidays’ Travel Report, which discovered how safe it is to plan and book travel online.