(BPT) - After a devastating pandemic kept us in our homes for over a year, wanderlust is at an all-time high and more Americans are starting to get back out there. In fact, one-third of us plan to travel out of town this spring, while a little over another third plan to do so this summer.1 With that in mind, Priceline looked at how travel has changed and what trends are emerging as we enter the spring and summer peak travel season.
1. Escapism is top of mind
When it comes to air travel, hotel stays and car rentals, Americans are prioritizing warm, tropical and entertainment-focused destinations, such as Hawaii, Las Vegas, Mexico and Orlando. Florida, in particular, is a traveler favorite right now. The Sunshine State dominates the top 10 destinations across all three categories with at least four cities on each list.2
2. Local exploration matters more than ever
When the pandemic took hold, flights came to an almost screeching halt. According to round-trip flight bookings on Priceline, travelers flew four billion miles fewer in 2020 than they did in 2019. Not only did people fly less often, but they also did not travel as far: The average distance dropped by 20% in 2020 (1,307 miles), compared to the same period in 2019 (1,654 miles).3 Instead, Americans are opting to explore locally, with 70% of car rentals used for road trips within their own state, and driving an average of 184 miles.4 Likewise, today’s travelers are booking hotel stays within their own states 10% more than prior years.5
3. Wallet-friendly stays abound in the South and West
Travel deals are more important than ever. This year, the average hotel stay costs under $125 a night in Las Vegas, The Black Hills, South Dakota, Denver and Orlando, which means you can enjoy a great getaway without blowing your budget.6 Explore the outdoors at South Dakota’s majestic Black Hills, home to Mount Rushmore, and Pigeon Forge, only a 25-minute drive from Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
4. Package deals enable workcations
The blurring of work-life boundaries gave rise to the “bleisure” trip or workcation, a hybrid of business and leisure travel, last year. As flexible work schedules become a long-term possibility for many, these extended leisure-first trips, which incorporate remote work as part of the experience, will continue to drive unique booking preferences. Because of this, Priceline is seeing increased interest in bundled or package trips, which are conveniently booked together and offer great savings.
As domestic tourism ramps up, we will see continued preference for beach getaways and entertainment, alongside an ongoing appreciation for our local surroundings and an increased willingness to blend our vacations with work. And as consumers resume regular travel in search of connection and new experiences, Priceline is here to help them do just that by making unforgettable trips — at great values — available at their fingertips.
1 Harris Report survey: “Springing Back to Normal? Planned Spending Signals Cautious Optimism Amid Vaccine Rollout” (2021).
2 Based on all hotel, car rental and round-trip domestic flight bookings for travel anytime from Apr. 1 to June 30, 2021.
3 Based on all flight bookings made by U.S.-based consumers for travel anytime between Jan. 1 to Dec. 7, 2020, compared to Jan. 1 to Dec. 7, 2019.
4 Based on car rental bookings for all car types made by U.S.-based consumers between Jan. 1 to Feb. 24, 2021, for travel anytime between Apr. 1 and June 30, 2021. Intrastate travel and average mileage traveled is based on car rental bookings for travel anytime during 2020.
5 Based on hotel bookings for all stars made by U.S.-based consumers for travel anytime between Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2021, compared to 2020 (Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2020) and 2019 (Jan. 1, 2019, to Dec. 31, 2019).
6 Based on the average daily rates across all stars for hotel booking for travel anytime between Apr. 1 and June 30, 2021.