The State of the American Traveler—Destinations Edition 2023

Every quarter working with our smart friends at Miles Partnership, we take a deeper dive into important areas driving the travel industry’s management and growth. This further analysis allows Miles and Destination Analysts to provide additional insights towards evolving strategies. The Destinations Edition is where we take a particular look at our research on traveling consumers’ desires and decision making around how they perceive, consider and ultimately choose destinations. It is based on data collected in our monthly The State of the American Traveler survey fielded among a nationally representative sample of 4,000 adult American travelers each wave. Below is a summary of the key highlights.

American Travel Sentiment Heading into Spring 2023
The outlook for travel over the next months looks bright. Americans’ excitement for travel is at record levels and travelers’ reported average expected annual travel spending hit $4,677. American travelers say they will prioritize leisure travel in their household income’s spending in the coming months–over home improvements, clothing, entertainment and even dining out in restaurants.

Which Destinations are Hot?
When asked about their feelings about various destination types, American travelers express the most excitement for beaches (60.0%), followed by cities (47.7%), small towns (44.8%) and then national parks (41.2%). However, in a turn-around from the pandemic era, cities top the list in the reported number of leisure trips Americans plan to take to them this year. The average American travelers says they plan to take 2.9 leisure trips to cities this year, up from 1.4 reported in 2019.

Nearly half (48%) of American travelers say they have an active bucket list of places they want to visit. Domestically, these bucket lists most commonly include Hawaii, Alaska, New York, California and the Grand Canyon. Almost 1-in-3 (31.2%) American travelers report they are likely to travel internationally this year, and topping the international bucket list is Italy, followed by the UK.

In our latest survey, American travelers also rated dozens of destinations on a variety of different attributes. Best for food? New York. Romantic atmosphere? Miami. Welcoming to people like themselves? Orlando. A Place to Attend a Meeting/Conventions? Las Vegas.

Destination Inspiration: Media Resources
About one-third of American travelers overall report they used online video specifically for trip planning purposes. But when it comes to destination inspiration, Millennial and GenZ age travelers are particularly open to content they receive through video sources like TikTok and streaming services.