SEATTLE—The latest report from Expedia.com reveals the priorities and behaviors of Americans looking to get away this summer. Leveraging search and demand data and a national poll of 1,000-plus Americans, results from the report include the following:
- 85% of U.S. travelers are likely to take a road trip this summer.
- Interest in domestic summer stays is up 10% year-on-year, making up nearly 85% of hotel searches overall in June.
- Demand for staycations is on the rise.
- Flexibility is key: 97% of stays booked in June were refundable rates, up nearly 20% year-on-year.
- Health, safety and avoiding crowds are prioritized over price.
“People miss travel, they have vacation days to use and they also want to stay safe,” said Nisreene Atassi, senior director of PR and social for Expedia.com. “Given how quickly the advice and restrictions are changing, one of our main priorities at Expedia is making sure our customers have the information they need to navigate this summer travel season.”
Close to Home
Traveling within the U.S. is always a popular option for Americans, but international travel restrictions coupled with health and safety uncertainty has led to a 10% increase in domestic summer travel searches, according to data from Expedia.com. Nearly 85% of hotel searches on the site in June were for accommodations located within the U.S. Furthermore, about a quarter of June bookings were for same-state stays, a slight increase from last year.
Last-minute getaways are also on the rise, with more travelers booking trips 0-7 days out this summer than in previous years.
“While the desire to get away is still going strong for many of us, how and where we’re choosing to go this summer looks different,” said Atassi. “Beaches and national parks remain popular, but more Americans are choosing destinations that are closer to home and drivable, versus going somewhere more exotic. Interestingly, we’ve seen that travelers are making these plans at the last minute. Things are so unpredictable right now with COVID-19, so it’s possible that travelers feel more comfortable making travel plans for the near future vs. planning too far ahead.”
According to the survey, 85% say they’re planning or likely to go on a road trip this summer, driven primarily by the need for a change of scenery (43%) and the desire to enjoy the outdoors (36%).
As travelers venture away from home and destinations open back up to tourism, health and safety takes priority over price when trip-planning. Some 72% of survey respondents said they’re opting for a road trip this summer because it feels safer than flying, and more people listed health and safety (72%) and avoiding crowds (68%) as top concerns over budget (60%).
With so much uncertainty impacting vacation plans this year, many travelers are opting for plans that can be easily adjusted, canceled or rescheduled. Expedia data shows 97% of hotel stays booked in June were refundable rates, a 20% increase from the year prior.
“People often choose nonrefundable rates because they’re generally cheaper, but with so many destinations eager to welcome back tourists, it’s more realistic than ever to find a great value without having to sacrifice flexibility,” said Atassi.