Summer is almost gone, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on travel this fall.
Thankfully, while the popular summer vacation season is coming to a close, travel doesn’t appear to be fading with it: 74% of American travelers surveyed report they will travel this fall, well above the 61% planning to travel at the same time last year. Similarly, over half (52%) plan to travel more than they did last fall and only 3% will travel less.
On trend with increased travel is a rise in international trips., according to a news release and study by Tripadvisor. While 65% of U.S. travelers will stay domestic this fall, the remaining travelers set their sights on global destinations alone with more than a quarter (27%) traveling internationally and domestically, and nearly one in 10 (8%) 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 U.S., the vast majority (80%) plan to travel over four hours from their home.
City breaks are most popular with travelers this fall, as familiar favorites in Europe and Mexico continue to shine. In fact, most travelers (75%) 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 more in-depth, evidenced by the fact that “culture and sightseeing” is the number one trip type for Americans this fall, and interest in museums and cultural sites is on the rise. Plus, Tripadvisor first-party data indicates that travelers are keen to try more local tours and activities, booking new and elevated ways to experience classic attractions (as shown below).
Most International Destinations for Americans This Fall
- Paris, France
- Most booked experience: Bateaux Parisiens Seine River Gourmet Dinner & Sightseeing Cruise
- Cancun, Mexico
- Most booked experience: Chichen Itza, Cenote and Valladolid All-Inclusive Tour
- Rome, Italy
- Most booked experience: Skip-the-Line Group Tour of the Vatican, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter’s Basilica
- London, United Kingdom
- Most booked experience: Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, and Bath from London
- Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
- Most booked experience: Half-Day Adventure: 4×4 ATV, Water Cave and Dominican Culture At Punta Cana
- Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
- Most booked experience: Sunset Cruise with Open bar and Snacks In Cabo San Lucas
- Playa del Carmen, Mexico
- Most booked experience: Tulum Ruins, Turtles in Akumal and Cenote tour
- Barcelona, Spain
- Most booked experience: Fast Track Sagrada Familia Guided Tour
- Palm – Eagle Beach, Aruba
- Most booked experience: Aruba Pub Krawl Tour
- Florence, Italy
- Most, booked experience: Small-Group Wine Tasting Experience in the Tuscan Countryside
For those staying stateside, the ever-popular Las Vegas, New York City, and Orlando round out the top three most popular destinations Americans 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 Americans 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%) of American travelers surveyed will take a solo trip this autumn. This is well above the global total of 15% as well the 17% who reported traveling solo last fall. While the reasons behind this trend may vary, it is a sign that travelers are more comfortable to journey alone and want to fully immerse themselves in the local culture. For solo explorers looking for great places to visit, Tripadvisor has recent guides on the best places to travel, as well as across the U.S.
Americans Most Excited About Their Trips
When asked how they feel about their upcoming trip, 78% of Americans reported being excited and 70% responded “happy,” both being well above global totals of 64% and 60%, respectively, for these positive emotions.
This is despite the fact that their trips will be more modest than their international counterparts: Americans 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. Americans 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%) than the global population of respondents (48%).
Other Key Drivers Among U.S. Travelers this Fall Include
- Money Matters:
- Over half of travelers surveyed (54%) plan to spend more on travel this upcoming season compared to the same period last year.
- 37% said macroeconomic factors will change how they travel over the next three months (64% due to higher cost of living due to inflation, 50% change in financial circumstances due to the economy).
- Most important trip factor is cost/affordability (62%).
- Trip Type:
- Most travelers plan to visit one to two cities while on their trip.
- 47% of Americans will travel by plane (below the global total of 54%), 40% by car (well above 27% global average) and only 3% by train.
- Travelers plan to take: 1-2 trips (65%), 3-5 trips (25%), or 6+ trips (10%) this fall.
- The main purpose of the upcoming trip: make memories (52%), followed by relax/rejuvenate (49%)
- Most travelers will prioritize food while on their trip (67%), which aligns with food generating the most excitement. Younger groups are more likely to prioritize food, nightlife, and shopping.
- 49% of Americans have booked or plan to book restaurant reservations in advance, with local options being the most popular: 54% will book a local fine dining restaurant, and 52% a local casual restaurant.
- Nearly two-thirds of Americans (64%) 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.
- 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% vs. 21%, on average).
- 61% 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% vs. before average). Also, Gen Z and millennials are more likely to feel negative emotions (i.e., cautious, overwhelmed, anxious) compared to older generations.
The data cited in this release was gathered and analyzed from three key sources:
- A Tripadvisor Consumer Sentiment Survey, based on data drawn from an online survey of over 2,400 consumers, in partnership with Qualtrics, conducted between June 20 – July 1, 2023, across six countries, including Australia, Italy, Japan, Singapore, U.K. & U.S.
- Site behavioral data sourced from first-party traffic data on the Tripadvisor platform, gathered between June 1 – July 8, 2023, for searches made by travelers in the U.S., U.K., Australia, Japan, and Singapore for travel between September 1 – November 30, 2023.
- Tripadvisor internal data, July 1-31, 2023.
* Source: SimilarWeb, unique users de-duplicated monthly, June 2023
** Source: Tripadvisor internal log files