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Summer travel trends: As industry gets closer to pre-pandemic levels, consumers are looking for authenticity—and they’re keeping their options open

by | Jun 7, 2024 | Public Relations

Summer always brings a sense of wanderlust, and US consumers are ready to hit the road this year as summer travel inches ever closer to pre-pandemic levels. New research from travel insurance and assistance services firm Generali Global Assistance takes a look at this summer’s travel plans, as well as travelers’ concerns.

The firm’s 2024 Holiday Barometer, an annual poll sponsored by its parent company, Europ Assistance, and conducted by consumer research firm Ipsos, surveyed 1,000 residents in each of 21 countries polled. Of the U.S. travelers surveyed, 57 percent say they intend to travel this summer. Interestingly, many are waiting longer to book their travel, likely in an attempt to keep their summer travel options open, with only 39 percent planning to travel saying they’ve booked their trips. Also, classic tourist destinations aren’t really on the itinerary. 

travel trends

“Every year, this survey gives us a window into the minds of Americans as they make their summer travel decisions. The rise of ‘slow travel’ is an interesting trend as people are wanting more authentic experiences over the traditional tourism hot spots,” said Chris Carnicelli, CEO of Generali Global Assistance, in a news release.

“There are plenty of places throughout the United States where Americans can take full advantage of a slower pace of travel,” said Carnicelli. “While those surveyed said they preferred to travel within the US, it’s important to remember that Americans can experience almost any type of vacation they desire from sunbathing on pristine beaches to taking a challenging climb up a mountain or cooking classes in a major metropolis—all without needing their passport.”

travel trends

Upcoming travel plans

  • 57 percent of U.S. respondents are planning to travel during the months of June through September, coinciding with the North American summer vacation season.
  • Travel budgets are on the rise amongst Americans with those surveyed planning to spend $4,199 this year—the second highest in the world behind the Swiss.
  • Americans are planning more in advance for the summer travel season, with almost 70 percent of Americans planning to travel this summer reported making their plans at least two months in advance. 
  • Americans are still overwhelmingly choosing to travel domestically. Over half (56 percent) of those surveyed said their ideal vacation was within the United States. Only 21 percent stated a preference for a vacation abroad. 
  • While vacationers from the U.S. are still picking beach vacations (49 percent) over trips to the city (43 percent), the number of Americans who indicated they would take a tour-style trip (30 percent) saw an 11 percent increase year over year.

Travel trends

  • This year’s survey looks deeper into the type of travel people are looking for. The two travel trends that Americans surveyed preferred were “slow travel” and traveling to less classically “touristy” destinations. These preferences were shared in all the regions surveyed. 
  • These two preferences seem to be complementary since “slow travel” is defined as taking the time to explore local history and culture, while supporting the environment.

Travel concerns

  • Inflation is the main concern for travelers in all countries, far above other reasons, with it being a top concern among 87 percent of U.S. travelers.
  • COVID and global armed conflicts are also weighing on the minds of American travelers—60 percent of Americans surveyed said these concerns impacted their travel decisions. 
  • 42 percent of Americans surveyed indicated they would be purchasing travel protection to help protect themselves this summer vacation season. 

travel trends

The 2024 edition of the Holiday Barometer from Europ Assistance and Ipsos was conducted in 21 countries including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Portugal, Belgium, Poland, Czech Republic, Malaysia, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Japan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Australia. In each country, 1,000 consumers aged 18 years and older took part in an online questionnaire. The survey was conducted between March 27 and April 22 and investigated consumer holiday plans and travel preferences.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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