NEEDHAM, Massachusetts—Summer 2021 in the United States was driven by leisure travel, with 71 percent of U.S. travelers visiting new destinations. The demand is predicted to travel into the fall; Tripadvisor released its seasonal Fall Travel Index, which revealed trends in the most popular destinations for the fall.
Fifty-four percent of U.S. travelers report planning a trip between September 1, 2021, through November 30, 2021. The number is down 13 percent from summer 2021 demand but up 4 percent from spring 2021 and 10 percent higher than global demand indicators. Sixty-three percent of U.S. travelers are planning to take more than one trip this fall, with long weekend trips—between two and five days—being most common.
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 U.S. travelers are visiting this fall. Half of the most popular fall getaways still involve sunbathing:
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- New York City, New York
- Orlando, Florida
- Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
- Ocean City, Maryland
- Honolulu, Hawaii
- Nashville, Tennessee
- Chicago, Illinois
- Miami Beach, Florida
- Virginia Beach, Virginia
While 84 percent of U.S. travelers are staying within the country for their fall trips, 16 percent are venturing internationally. The most popular international destinations for U.S. travelers 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 at 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 United States right now.”
The most popular experience types (bookable tours, tickets, and activities) this fall are historical tours, sightseeing cruises, cultural tours, and ghost and vampire tours. Sixty percent of U.S. travelers plan to book a tour or activity for their fall trip, rising to 80 percent for Millennials.
The top 10 most booked experiences this fall include:
- History & Hauntings of Salem Guided Walking Tour—Salem, Massachusetts
- Nashville to Jack Daniel’s Distillery Bus Tour with Whiskey Tastings—Nashville, Tennessee
- Tour of North Shore (70 percent) and Sightseeing (30 percent)—Honolulu, Hawaii
- General Jackson Showboat Lunch or Dinner Cruise—Nashville, Tennessee
- Ultimate Circle Island Adventure with Waimea Waterfall—Honolulu, Hawaii
- The Salem Night Tour—Salem, Massachusetts
- Premium Narrated Bus Tour of Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park—Bar Harbor, Maine
- Asheville Historic Downtown Guided Electric Bike Tour with Scenic Views—Asheville, North Carolina
- Salt Lake City Guided Bus Tour—Salt Lake City, Utah
- Scenic Tour of Bryce Canyon—Bryce, Utah
The trending destinations for experiences this fall (places with the highest volume of experiences booked) are Nashville, Tennessee; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Salem, Massachusetts, respectively. Additionally, the most popular fall hotel check-in date in the United States is October 31, 2021.
Additional findings from the Fall Travel Index include:
- Gen Z travelers are the most eager to travel this fall, with 62 percent planning to do so. This is followed by 60 percent of Millennials, 59 percent of Gen X, and 40 percent of Baby Boomers.
- Lahaina and Honolulu, Hawaii, are the top two fastest-growing destinations compared to fall 2020.
- Cleanliness remains a top priority.
- Most fall trips will be between two and five nights long, with 53 percent of travelers reporting to take a trip of that duration. Seventeen percent will stay only one night, 22 percent will stay six to 10 nights, and 7 percent will stay more than 10 nights.