Fall 2023 Travel Trends: U.S. Travelers Embrace International Trips and City Breaks

Tripadvisor, the world's largest travel guidance platform, has released its Seasonal Travel Index for the fall of 2023, providing valuable insights into travel trends and expectations for the upcoming season.[0] Despite the end of the popular summer vacation season, travel enthusiasm remains high among U.S. travelers, with 74% of respondents stating their intention to travel this fall, a significant increase from the previous year's 61%.[0] Furthermore, over half of the travelers (52%) plan to travel more than they did last fall, while only 3% anticipate traveling less.

One notable trend is the rise in international trips among U.S. travelers. While 65% of respondents plan to stay domestic this fall, a significant portion (27%) will travel both internationally and domestically.[0] Additionally, 8% prioritize international travel over domestic trips this season.[1] The share of international travel has surpassed pre-pandemic levels, reflecting a gradual increase over the past two years.[1] Even among those staying in the United States, 80% plan to travel over four hours from their homes, indicating a desire for exploration and adventure.[1]

City breaks are the most popular type of trip among U.S. travelers this fall, with familiar favorites in Europe and Mexico continuing to attract visitors. A majority of travelers (75%) plan to return to destinations they have visited before, as these familiar places provide a sense of security.[0] However, there is also a growing interest in exploring these destinations in more depth, with “culture and sightseeing” ranking as the top trip type for U.S. travelers this fall. Museums and cultural sites are also experiencing increased interest. Travelers are seeking new and elevated ways to experience classic attractions, as evidenced by their bookings of local tours and activities.

The top international destinations for U.S. travelers this fall include Rome and Florence in Italy, as well as Palm – Eagle Beach in Aruba. For those staying within the United States, Las Vegas, New York City, and Orlando are the most popular destinations.[1] Smaller Sun Belt destinations are also seeing increased interest as travelers try to extend their summers and enjoy warmth and sunshine beyond Labor Day.[1]

Another interesting finding is that 26% of U.S. travelers surveyed plan to take a solo trip this autumn, indicating a growing comfort with solo travel and a desire for immersive experiences in local cultures.[0] U.S. travelers tend to take shorter trips of 2-4 nights, which is lower than the average trip length in other countries.[0] However, Boomers are more likely to take longer trips of 5+ days compared to other age groups.[1] Vacation rentals and staying with friends and family are popular accommodation choices among U.S. travelers, and they also exhibit greater flexibility in choosing their destinations.[0]

Despite taking shorter trips, U.S. travelers are eager to make the most of their travel experiences. On average, they book more on-trip activities (3-5) compared to travelers from other countries.[1] U.S. travelers are interested in various components of their trips, including food, activities, relaxation, shopping, people, and weather.

Money matters also play a significant role in U.S. travelers' decisions.[1] Over half of the respondents (54%) plan to spend more on travel this fall compared to the same period last year. Macro-economic factors, such as the higher cost of living due to inflation and changes in financial circumstances due to the economy, are influencing travel plans for 37% of U.S. travelers.[1] Cost and affordability are the most important factors when planning a trip, according to 62% of respondents.[1]

The preferred modes of transportation for U.S. travelers are planes (47%) and cars (40%), with a small percentage (3%) opting for trains.[0] U.S. travelers are more likely to take 1-2 trips (65%) this fall, with 25% planning 3-5 trips and 10% intending to take 6+ trips.

Food is a top priority for U.S. travelers, with 67% stating that they will prioritize food experiences during their trips.[1] Nearly half (49%) have already booked or plan to book restaurant reservations in advance, with local dining options being the most popular choice.[1] Two-thirds of U.S. travelers (64%) make decisions during their trips based on how they feel in the moment, while travel websites and apps also play a role in their planning process.[0]

Younger travelers, particularly Gen Z and millennials, are more likely to book reservations in advance compared to other age groups.[0] Boomers, on the other hand, tend to book activities four or more weeks in advance.

In conclusion, U.S. travelers are eagerly embracing travel this fall, with a significant portion planning international trips. City breaks and familiar destinations are popular choices, but travelers also seek to explore these places in more depth. Solo travel is on the rise, indicating a growing comfort and desire for immersive experiences.[0] U.S. travelers prioritize food and are interested in various components of their trips. Cost and affordability are important factors, and travelers are willing to spend more on their travels this season. Overall, the travel industry can expect a robust fall season with U.S. travelers eager to make the most of their trips and create lasting memories.

0. “Tripadvisor: U.S. Travel to Remain Strong This Fall — LODGING” lodgingmagazine.com, 7 Sep. 2023, https://lodgingmagazine.com/tripadvisor-u-s-travel-to-remain-strong-this-fall/

1. “Tripadvisor's Fall Finds: City Breaks and Solo Trips Hot This Season …” www.news-journal.com, 7 Sep. 2023, https://www.news-journal.com/tripadvisors-fall-finds-city-breaks-and-solo-trips-hot-this-season/article_7aaf70df-f2f3-5504-990e-a3b88f9bf6f4.html

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