Fall travel trends highlight how and where Americans will spend

The Labor Day holiday weekend is just a couple of weeks away to kick off the US fall travel season. Even though it’s been a crazy summer for travel, with most of the world opening up after more than two years of COVID-related restrictions, Americans’ appetite for vacations still isn’t satiated.

According to Tripadvisor’s 2022 Fall Travel Index, based on the platform’s search data combined with consumer sentiment data, 61 percent of U.S. respondents plan to travel this fall, even if only slightly different from what they had imagined.

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Travel demand will not recede

According to the Index, 37% of Americans still intend to travel this fall as originally planned, despite inflation challenges. Globally, 34 percent also indicated they intend to travel as planned between September and November, despite ever-rising costs.

Even as they face record inflation rates, crazy gas prices and the continued presence of COVID-19, global consumers show no signs that demand for travel (especially among Americans) is slowing down anytime soon.

The pent-up demand is prompting Americans to cut back on other expenses to ensure they can take their fall vacation. In fact, half of Americans (50 percent) plan to travel more this fall, and two-thirds (66 percent) plan to spend more there than they did in the same period last year.

The trips may look a little different

While fall travel is still in the books, the cost of living crisis is having an impact on Americans’ choices. Nearly half (45%) of US travelers said “Price” influenced their travel dates and two-thirds (66%) consider “Cost/Affordability” the top criteria in their travel planning process journey.

So while 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 are likely to take shorter trips, while nearly a quarter (24%) indicated they are likely to choose a destination closer to home than originally planned.

Family celebrating a US national holiday with an outdoor picnic.
Family celebrating a US national holiday with an outdoor picnic. (Photo via iStock/Getty Images/fstop123)

Domestic travel vs. international

As is also the global trend, domestic travel remains the preferred type of travel among Americans for the upcoming season, whether due to the high cost of travel or other factors. TripAdvisor found that 81 percent of U.S. and 60 percent of global travelers surveyed are opting for national holidays this fall.

However, an encouraging trend towards increased long-haul air travel has also emerged. More than 40 percent of Americans surveyed plan to travel more than seven hours, and nearly half (49 percent) will fly.

Compared to the Fall 2021 Travel Index survey, which found that 68 percent of U.S. travelers stayed with staycation-style getaways accessible by car or train, the study d ‘this year clearly shows that Americans are ready to take major trips.

Additionally, more than half of Americans (56%) plan fall trips of at least four nights, while one-third (33%) plan getaways of five nights or more. TripAdvisor also noted that the Labor Day weekend period will be the most popular travel time of the season.

Mother and children relaxing in car during road trip
Mother and children on vacation by road. (photo via monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Top 10 travel destinations in the US this fall:

Las Vegas, Nevada

New York, New York

Orlando, Florida

Honolulu, Hawaii

Lahaina, Hawaii

Key West, Florida

Nashville, Tennessee

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

New Orleans, Louisiana

Miami Beach, Florida

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