U.S. Travel Trends: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Travel trends can tell you a lot about how people feel about major issues like the economy and national security. It’s also interesting to see where people are going and what they’re doing.

On that note, here are five fast facts you need to know about current travel trends in the United States:

1. International Travel to the U.S. is Down

international travel

Britain’s decision to leave the European Union in June was sort of the last straw in a trend that was already seeing inbound travel in the U.S. decline. For the past three years, there’s been negative year-over-year growth and the strength of the dollar will continue to keep budget travelers at bay. Specifically, travel from Canada will remain down through the remainder of the year.

2. Domestic Business Travel Also in a Slump

domestic business travel


“Domestic business travel also reverted to previous downward patterns in May, and the segment’s prospects for growth remain subdued through November of this year,” the U.S. Travel Association’s recent Travel Trends Index reports.

The decline in domestic business travel isn’t necessarily a surprise. Over the past few years, the increase in flexible business technologies that allow for remote working and virtual meetings have threatened to push air travel to the backburner. It still remains to be seen how serious this impact will be as more and more businesses become comfortable with such technologies.

3. Disney Owns the U.S. Tourism Scene

Walt Disney World Resort

Jacqueline Nell/Disneyland Resort via Getty Images

When Americans travel for leisure, they don’t get very creative. According to recent research by GoGo Charters, when people search for travel destinations, half of the 50 states are searching for Disney. And for the other 25 states, Disney is in the top five.

The second most searched destination – in terms of states – was the beach. Myrtle Beach in South Carolina was the top search item in both the Carolinas and West Virginia. Yellowstone National Park and Six Flags were also popular searches. In Hawaii, residents prefer to search for destinations within the state itself.

4. Travel Plans are Consistent

travel plans

When Americans travel, they tend to plan two months in advance and generally take off roughly one week. Specifically, the average trip duration is seven days and the average lead time is 61 days.

For travel companies and those in the tourism industry, this indicates a need for targeting travelers well before high seasons – such as summer and early fall. Most travelers figure out all of the major details before arriving at the destination, so the opportunity to earn their business must be seized well in advance.

5. These International Destinations Lead the Way


Wikimedia Commons

For American travelers, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are emerging as top destinations, while Papau New Guinea, Turkey, and Anguilla are seeing steep declines.

Perhaps the most interesting revelation is that political turbulence and international terrorism don’t appear to be dissuading all travelers. While some cautious travelers have certainly switched up their plans, there hasn’t been much of a decrease in travel to countries like Belgium and France, where attacks have recently occurred.

Somewhat surprisingly, the trend of traveling to Iceland continues to grow. The Iceland Monitor reports that the number of American tourists increased by 59 percent year-on-year from 2014 to 2015. “This trend is likely to continue [in 2016] as Icelandic and US airlines add further American destinations to their route map from Iceland,” they Monitor says.

America On the Move

Travel, like any other industry, is dictated by a number of factors. As you can see, U.S. travel numbers are down this year, but that doesn’t mean everyone is sitting at home.

When vacations are scheduled, there are some pretty consistent destinations and trends.

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