The Labor Day holiday weekend is nearly upon us, kicking off the U.S. fall travel season. While it’s been a wild summer for travel, with most of the world opening up after over two years of COVID-related restrictions, Americans’ appetite for vacations isn’t satiated yet.
According to Tripadvisor’s 2022 Fall Travel Index — based on the platform’s first-party search data, combined with propriety consumer sentiment data — 61% of U.S. respondents are planning trips this autumn, if slightly differently than they’d imagined.
According to the Index, 37% of Americans still intend to travel this fall as initially planned, despite inflation challenges. Globally, 34% also indicated that they intend to travel as planned between September and November, despite continually rising costs.
Even while faced with record inflation rates, high gas prices and the continued presence of COVID-19, global consumers show no indications that travel demand (especially among Americans) will abate anytime soon.
Pent-up demand is prompting Americans to cut back on other expenses to ensure they can take their fall vacations. In fact, half of Americans (50%) plan to do more traveling this autumn and two-thirds (66%) plan to spend more on it than they did in the same period last year.
Travel may look a bit different
While autumn trips are still on the books, the cost-of-living crisis is having an impact on Americans’ choices. Nearly half (45%) of U.S. travelers said that ‘Price’ influenced their chosen travel dates and two-thirds (66%) consider ‘Cost/Affordability’ the main criteria in their trip planning process.
So, although skyrocketing costs won’t deter Americans from traveling this fall season, many have had to adjust their plans a bit. Thirty-five percent of respondents said they’ll likely take trips of shorter duration, while nearly one-quarter (24%) indicated they’ll likely choose a destination that’s closer to home than originally planned.
Domestic vs. international trips
As is also the trend globally, domestic trips remain the preferred type of travel among Americans for the upcoming season, whether owing to the high cost of travel or other factors. TripAdvisor found that 81% of U.S. and 60% of global travelers surveyed are opting for domestic vacations this fall.
However, an encouraging trend in increased long-haul air travel has also emerged. Over 40% of Americans surveyed plan to travel more than seven hours and nearly half (49%) will go by air.
In comparison to the 2021 Fall Travel Index survey, which found that 68% of U.S. travelers were sticking with staycation-style escapes accessible by car or train, this year’s study clearly shows that Americans are ready to take major trips.
Additionally, over half of Americans (56%) are planning fall season trips of at least four nights, while one-third (33%) are planning getaways lasting five nights or longer. TripAdvisor also noted that the Labor Day holiday weekend period is set to be the season’s most popular time to travel.
This fall’s top 10 U.S. travel destinations:
Las Vegas, Nevada
New York, New York
Key West, Florida
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
New Orleans, Louisiana
Miami Beach, Florida