93% of Americans Ready to Splurge on Winter Travel This Year

umbrellas on a beach

Cost won’t hinder winter travel, as 93% of Americans plan to spend the same amount or more on winter travel as last year. 58% of Americans plan to travel during this season, and this figure rises among millennial (63%) and Gen Z (68%) travelers.

According to Tripadvisor’s Winter Travel Index, these figures align with last year’s data. However, those traveling in 2023 are ready to upgrade their getaways. Trends for this season include longer trips, more frequent trips, bigger budgets, and international destinations, including Mexico and the Caribbean.

Now Trending: Longer Trips, More Travel

One trip ‘over the river and through the woods’ won’t be enough for many Americans this winter. According to Tripadvisor, 25% of travelers plan to take more trips this season. Nearly a quarter (24%) expect to take three or more trips, with Gen Z the most likely to report that they’ll take as many as 3-5 trips.

Travel technology company iSeatz reports similar trends among younger travelers. iSeatz found 38% of millennials and 37% of Gen Z plan to take three or more additional trips in the upcoming year than in 2023, often blending business and leisure travel.

In addition to scheduling more getaways, 30% of Americans indicate that they plan to stay away longer than they did last year. International Medical Group (IMG) notes a similar trend, reporting that trips during the 2023 winter holidays will average nine days, one day longer than last year’s average.

“This season, we’re seeing Americans confident in taking bigger trips. About half plan to travel more than they did last winter, and they are more likely to take a long trip (5+ nights),” says Alice Jong, Senior Research Analyst at Tripadvisor.

Larger Travel Budgets

Cost is still a major consideration for many travelers, but things are looking up financially for those with significant winter travel plans.

According to the U.S. Travel Association’s Travel Price Index (TPI), travel prices fell 1.4% month-over-month from September to October 2023, representing the most significant drop since December 2022.

The declining prices fueling this drop are great news for jet-setting consumers. Automotive fuel prices are down 5.6% relative to September 2022, and airfare prices dropped 13.2% year-over-year. Lodging prices declined 2.9% relative to the previous month.

IMG, a provider of insurance services, including travel insurance, reports a 12% increase in the average insured cost of a trip this holiday season. This increase indicates that travelers are willing to spend more on trips this year than last year, likely due to the moderation of price inflation.

Where Are Travelers Going and What Are They Doing?

A third of American travelers will go abroad this winter, armed with bigger budgets and more days to spend away from home. This figure continues to grow year-over-year as borders have reopened and concerns about Covid-19 have moderated. These international travelers are headed to Mexico and the Caribbean this winter and have adventure on their minds.

Tripadvisor reports that all 10 of the most popular winter travel destinations for Americans are in these warm and sunny regions. IMG notes a similar trend, naming Mexico, Aruba, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and Barbados as the top five international destinations for U.S. travelers.

While these destinations are long-standing favorites, Tripadvisor also drops the names of several lesser-known Caribbean destinations that are experiencing the most significant growth year-over-year.

It’s easy to see why these locations appeal to travelers fleeing the winter weather. Las Galeras, Dominican Republic, offers beautiful and remote beaches and opportunities for hiking. Frederiksted, Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, boasts famous beaches and botanical gardens.

Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, another trending destination, is known for its National Wildlife Refuge’s beautiful and diverse ecosystems.

American travelers may choose sun-soaked spots as their favorite destinations, but relaxation isn’t the only thing on their minds once they arrive. About 33% of Americans report that they’ve booked an outdoor activity experience, and 30% report that adventure is their primary goal while on vacation.

That’s a significant difference from their international counterparts, who are more likely to schedule cultural tours. Notably, millennials and members of Gen Z are more likely to prioritize adventurous experiences when traveling than boomers and members of Gen X.

This thirst for adventure is evident in Tripadvisor’s most-booked experiences, including activities like a guided nighttime kayak excursion in Puerto Rico and a Key West reef snorkeling trip.

Ambitious Travelers

For American travelers, winter 2023 will be a season of heightened travel ambitions. Americans are not only ready to embrace the world once again but are doing so with a renewed spirit of adventure and a willingness to invest in bigger and more immersive travel experiences. This growing travel ambition is demonstrated by trends toward longer, more frequent, and more expensive travel, especially among younger travelers.

This article was produced by Media Decision and syndicated by Travel Binger.

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