U.S. Travel to Remain Strong This Fall — LODGING

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NEEDHAM, Massachusetts—Tripadvisor released the next in its Seasonal Travel Index series, revealing data and trends about what to expect for travel this fall.

Although the popular summer vacation season is coming to a close, travel doesn’t appear to be fading with it: 74 percent of U.S. travelers surveyed report they will travel this fall, well above the 61 percent planning to travel at the same time last year. Similarly, over half (52 percent) plan to travel more than they did last fall and only 3 percent will travel less.

On trend with increased travel is a rise in international trips. While 65 percent of U.S. travelers will stay domestic this fall, the remaining travelers set their sights on global destinations: more than a quarter (27 percent) will travel both internationally and domestically, and nearly one in ten (8 percent) have fully prioritized international travel over domestic this season. Notably, the share of international travel has recently surpassed pre-pandemic levels, a trend that’s been gradually rising over the past two years. Even for those staying in the United States, the vast majority (80 percent) plan to travel over four hours from their home.

Same cities, new ways to explore

City breaks are most popular with travelers this fall, as familiar favorites in Europe and Mexico continue to shine. In fact, most travelers (75 percent) plan to return to a destination they’ve visited before, as repeat destinations can give travelers a greater sense of security. That said, people want to explore these destinations in more depth, evidenced by the fact that “culture and sightseeing” is the number one trip type for U.S. travelers this fall, and interest in museums and cultural sites is on the rise. Plus, Tripadvisor’s first-party data indicates that travelers are keen to try more local tours and activities, booking new and elevated ways to experience classic attractions.

  • Paris, France
  • Cancun, Mexico
  • Rome, Italy
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
  • Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
  • Playa del Carmen, Mexico
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Palm – Eagle Beach, Aruba
  • Florence, Italy

For those staying stateside, the ever-popular Las Vegas, New York City, and Orlando round out the top three most popular destinations U.S. travelers will visit, respectively. As U.S. travelers attempt to stretch out their summers, enjoying warmth and sunshine past Labor Day, smaller Sun Belt destinations are seeing increased interest. Below are the top trending domestic destinations for U.S. travelers this fall on Tripadvisor, based on places with the greatest year-over-year growth.

  • Little Torch Key, Florida
  • Indian Rocks Beach, Florida
  • Miami Springs, Florida
  • Hawley, Pennsylvania
  • Carefree, Arizona
  • Reno, Nevada
  • Cape Canaveral, Florida
  • Holmes Beach, Florida
  • Rutherford, California
  • Indio, California
Solo travel on the rise

Over one-quarter (26 percent) of U.S. travelers surveyed will take a solo trip this autumn. This is well above the global total of 15 percent as well as the 17 percent who reported traveling solo last fall. While the reasons behind this trend may vary, it is a sign that travelers are more comfortable journeying alone and want to fully immerse themselves in the local culture.

U.S. travelers most excited about their trips

When asked how they feel about their upcoming trip, 78 percent of U.S. travelers reported being excited and 70 percent responded “happy,” both being well above global totals of 64 percent and 60 percent, respectively, for these positive emotions.

This is despite the fact that their trips will be more modest than their international counterparts: U.S. travelers are most likely to take trips 2-4 nights in length, well below the totals of other countries who will average 5+ nights. Notably, Boomers are more likely to take 5+ day trips compared to other age groups. U.S. travelers also over-index in reporting to stay in vacation rentals and with friends and family (versus hotels) and are more likely to be flexible when choosing a destination (60 percent) than the global population of respondents (48 percent).

With fewer trips on average, U.S. travelers are eager to maximize those trips. Thus, U.S. travelers are likely to book more on-trip activities on average (3-5) compared to people living in all other countries surveyed, and are interested in a wide array of components such as food, activities, relaxation, shopping, people and weather, showing that their excitement is multifaceted.

Other key drivers among U.S. travelers this fall include:

Money matters

Over half of travelers surveyed (54 percent) plan to spend more on travel this upcoming season compared to the same period last year.

  • Thirty-seven percent said macroeconomic factors will change how they travel over the next three months (64 percent due to higher cost of living due to inflation, 50 percent change in financial circumstances due to the economy).
  • Most important trip factor is cost/affordability (62 percent).
Trip type

Most travelers plan to visit one to two cities while on their trip.

  • Forty-seven percent of U.S. travelers will travel by plane (below the global total of 54 percent), 40 percent by car (well above 27 percent global average), and only 3 percent by train.
  • Travelers plan to take: 1-2 trips (65 percent), 3-5 trips (25 percent), or 6+ trips (10 percent) this fall.
  • The main purpose of upcoming trip: make memories (52 percent), followed by relax/rejuvenate (49 percent).
Activities
  • Most travelers will prioritize food while on their trip (67 percent), which aligns with food generating the most excitement. Younger groups are more likely to prioritize food, nightlife, and shopping.
  • Forty-nine percent of U.S. travelers have booked or plan to book restaurant reservations in advance, with local options being the most popular: 54 percent will book a local fine dining restaurant, and 52 percent a local casual restaurant.
  • Nearly two-thirds of U.S. travelers (64 percent) fill in the rest of their trip by deciding at the moment depending on how they’re feeling, followed by travel websites and apps.
  • Overall, travelers mainly get around via walking or public transport once they get to their destination. Car transportation (personal, rental rideshare) is more popular among U.S. respondents.
Planning
  • Most plan their upcoming trip one to six months in advance. Millennials are less likely to plan things under a month in advance compared to other age groups.
  • Younger travelers (Gen Z, Millennials) are more than twice as likely to book or plan to book a reservation in advance compared to other age groups (53 percent versus 21 percent, on average).
  • Sixty-one percent of respondents book their activities prior to their trip beginning, with almost a quarter booking four or more weeks before their trip. Boomers are more likely to book four plus weeks in advance on their upcoming trip (41 percent versus 19 percent, on average).
  • Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to feel negative emotions (i.e., cautious, overwhelmed, anxious) compared to older generations.



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