Tripadvisor: Pent-up travel will continue into fall

Following a summer where stir crazy Americans finally fulfilled their travel plans in droves—with 71% getting adventurous and visiting new destinations for the first time—it appears the American wanderlust will continue into the fall, according to Tripadvisor’s Fall Travel Index.

More than half (54%) of Americans report they are planning to travel this fall (between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30). This is down 13% from the chronically busiest summer travel season, but notably up 4% from this past spring, and 10% higher than the number of people globally traveling this fall. Most people with travel plans aren’t settling for just one getaway; 63% plan to take two or more trips this fall, still determined to make up for pandemic-lost travel time. And long weekend trips (between two and five days) will be most common.

Where are they going?
Throughout the pandemic, travelers preferred outdoor and nature destinations, avoiding crowded tourist spots. Now, the focus is gradually shifting back towards cities. In fact, big cities make up many of the top 10 destinations Americans are visiting this fall. Fear not, beachcombers refusing to give up your time in the sun, half of the most popular fall getaways still involve sunbathing:

  1. Las Vegas
  2. New York City
  3. Orlando
  4. Myrtle Beach, SC
  5. Ocean City, MD
  6. Honolulu
  7. Nashville
  8. Chicago
  9. Miami Beach
  10. Virginia Beach, VA

While the majority of Americans (84%) are staying in the U.S. for their fall trips, 16% are venturing out of the country. The most popular international destinations for Americans this fall are still relatively close to home: Cancun, Cabo San Lucas and Playa del Carmen, Mexico, respectively.

“Although most of us aren’t quite ready to vacation across the world, those who are traveling this fall are more willing to splurge,” said Val Anthony, lead research analyst, Tripadvisor. “The average price for trips booked by Americans this fall is $776, compared to $588 globally, meaning Americans are spending significantly more on travel than the rest of the world. This could be a result of more family trips: ‘Family hotels’ are the most popular hotel style, while pools and ‘family rooms’ are among the most popular hotel amenities being searched on Tripadvisor in the U.S. right now.”

What activities are Americans falling for?
The most popular experience types (bookable tours, tickets and activities) this fall are historical tours, sightseeing cruises, cultural tours and ghost & vampire tours—perfect for the more moderate autumn weather and scenic foliage. Nearly two-thirds (60%) of U.S. travelers plan to book a tour or activity for their fall trip, rising to a massive 80% of millennials.

Here are the top 10 most booked experiences this fall:

  1. History & Hauntings of Salem Guided Walking Tour—Salem. MA
  2. Nashville to Jack Daniel’s Distillery Bus Tour with Whiskey Tastings—Nashville
  3. Tour of North Shore (70%) and Sightseeing (30%)—Honolulu
  4. General Jackson Showboat Lunch or Dinner Cruise in Nashville—Nashville
  5. Ultimate Circle Island Adventure with Waimea Waterfall—Honolulu
  6. The Salem Night Tour—Salem, MA
  7. Premium Narrated Bus Tour of Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park (3.5 Hours)—Bar Harbor, ME
  8. Asheville Historic Downtown Guided Electric Bike Tour with Scenic Views—Asheville, NC
  9. Salt Lake City Guided Bus Tour—Salt Lake City
  10. Scenic Tour of Bryce Canyon—Bryce, UT

The trending destinations for experiences this fall (places with the highest volume of experiences booked) are Nashville; Honolulu; and Salem, MA, respectively. The most popular fall hotel check-in date in the U.S. is Oct. 31; perhaps Americans are traveling this Halloween to have their own haunted and chilling adventures.

Other fall finds:

  • Gen Z Americans are the most eager to travel this fall, with 62% planning to do so. This is followed by 60% of millennials, 59% of Gen X and just 40% of Boomers.
  • Lahaina and Honolulu in Hawaii are the top two fastest growing destinations compared to fall 2020.
  • Cleanliness remains a top priority, as Tripadvisor’s Travel Safe filter is the most commonly used on-site.
  • Most fall trips will be between two-five nights long, with 53% of travelers reporting to take a trip of that duration, while 17% will stay only one night, 22% will stay 6-10 nights and 7% will stay more than 10 nights.