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TCMI Domestic Travel Anxiety Index

The TCMI Domestic Travel Anxiety Index is a resource provided to the tourism industry by the Richardson Family Smart State Center for Economic Excellence in Tourism and Economic Development at the University of South Carolina. It uses data collected from an ongoing survey to report perceptions and measure relative changes in domestic travel anxiety over time. The index is a barometer of domestic leisure travelers’ anxiety, worry, and fear associated with travel within the U.S.

TCMI Domestic Travel Anxiety Index Data

Year Month Index Score Month / Month Difference Month / Baseline Difference Download Report Keywords
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2023 January 69.1 -5.0% -30.9% January 2023 Report   
2023 February 72.5 5.0% -27.5% February 2023 Report  
2022 July 87.0 N/A -13.0%    
2022 August 81.2 7.1% -18.8%    
2022 September 90.0 10.8% -10.0% September 2022 Report  
2022 October 79.7 -11.4% -20.3% October 2022 Report  
2022 November 72.7 -8.8% -27.3% November 2022 Report   

About the Research

The Domestic Travel Anxiety Index measures American leisure travelers’ anxiety associated with domestic travel. The data is drawn from an online panel of U.S. residents who have traveled recently or are considering traveling within the next six months. The panelists represent U.S. leisure travelers. The purpose of the index is to monitor fluctuations in traveler anxiety over time.

The index is a monthly report provided by researchers at the Richardson Family Smart State Center for Economic Excellence in Tourism and Economic Development (SmartState Tourism) at the University of South Carolina. It is part of the center’s Tourism Crisis Management Initiative (TCMI). This is a relaunch of the index, which was measured during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Three values are reported: the monthly index score, the month / month difference, and the month / base difference. The month / month difference is the change of the given month’s score to the previous month’s score shown as a percentage. The month / base difference is the change from the given month to the baseline reference point of Jan. 23, 2020—before the pandemic arrived in the United States.

Five waves from the COVID-19 pandemic are included as reference points for the relaunched index. The waves were based on the CDC’s defined phases of the pandemic: Early Phase (Feb. 1 - April 30, 2020); Mid-Phase (May 1 - July 1, 2020); Late-Mid Phase (July 1 - Aug. 31, 2020); Late Phase (Sept. 1 - Dec. 1, 2020).


Each wave has a range of 500-1,000 completed surveys, which are collected via an online panel of U.S. leisure travelers. TCMI's Domestic Travel Anxiety Index© is calculated by computing the relative score (the percent of negative replies divided by the total of the three categories of replies) for each of the three index questions (see Q1 below).

The survey scales range from 1-5. The scales are recoded as follows: 1=1, 2=2, 3=2, 4=3, and 5=3. These are labeled 1=negative, 2=neutral, 3=positive. Each relative score is rounded to the first decimal place. The three scores are summed together and divided by the baseline score and multiplied by 100. The baseline score is from Jan. 23, 2020.

Q1. Please indicate how you feel when you think about leisure travel in the U.S. right now.
(includes leisure travel using personal/rented vehicle)

Anxious <——> Relaxed
Fearful <——> Fearless
Worried <——> Assured



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