Tripadvisor: 55% of Americans plan to travel this winter

Tripadvisor’s new Winter Travel Index has revealed where Americans are heading for the next season. The final installment of the Tripadvisor Travel Index for 2021, which is based on first-party site data and consumer sentiment data, found that 55% of Americans report that they are planning to travel this winter. This is up from 50% who traveled in the same season in 2020, but still lags behind the 63% who hit the road in 2019.

Notably, 24% of Americans are still undecided about winter travel. Only about a third (30%) have already booked their trip, but 74% of those who haven’t yet are waiting until November or December to do so, so there may be significantly more travelers hit the road as the coldest season further approaches.

Although the vast majority (94%) of travelers will remain domestic, Americans are looking to broaden their horizons and experience new things this winter, as 37% are planning to travel somewhere they haven’t been before and 42% have booked a tour or activity.

New York City is back on top in the U.S. for the first time since the start of pandemic, as the most popular destination and home to the most-booked experience this winter.

Most popular winter destinations for Americans:

  • New York City
  • Orlando
  • Las Vegas
  • Key West, FL
  • Miami Beach
  • Nashville
  • Chicago
  • Anaheim, CA
  • Los Angeles
  • Savannah, GA

Seaside destinations trending in Tripadvisor’s Fall Travel Index (Myrtle Beach, SC; Ocean City, MD; Honolulu; Virginia Beach, VA) are out, as more cities (Los Angeles; Savannah, GA) popped back into the mix, as well as Anaheim, home to Disneyland, surging in popularity. Other changes from this fall include increased interest in traveling overseas, likely a response to the recent openings of many international borders to Americans. In fact, the majority of the fastest-growing destinations (greatest growth from fall to winter) are international, with Paris, London and Rome rounding out the top three.

Fastest growing destinations for Americans:

  • Paris
  • London
  • Rome
  • Naples, Italy
  • Seven Mile Beach, Cayman Islands
  • Soufriere, St. Lucia
  • Freeport, ME
  • St. John’s, Antigua
  • San Pedro, Belize
  • Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Nearly half (49%) of Americans report feeling excited about holiday travel, more than any other country, while 43% feel hopeful and 42% feel optimistic. These trump negative emotions like stressed, nervous and cautious, which were the least common emotions reported.

After a year of missing loved ones, visiting them this season is a priority. The most common destination people want to visit is family and friends’ houses (61%), followed by the city (39%) and the beach (37%). And, most are traveling with their immediate family (50%) or significant other (41%).

What else is trending this winter?

  • The most popular travel dates for Americans heading off on winter trips are Dec. 16, Dec. 30 and Nov. 24, respectively
  • Top hotel styles: family and mid-range hotels
  • Popular hotel amenities: pool, free breakfast, all-inclusive, beach and free cancellation
  • 67% of travelers booking a trip this winter have already started researching
  • 77% of Americans say they are saving up for holiday travel
  • The most important factor when choosing a destination this winter: travel cost (39%)
  • 32% will spend more than last year, 58% will spend the same amount

The results of the Tripadvisor Consumer Sentiment Survey was based on data drawn from an online survey of more than 2,400 consumers, in partnership with Qualtrics, conducted between Oct. 5 and Oct. 14 across eight countries (U.S., U.K, Australia, Japan, Italy, Singapore, Germany and India).