Download the full survey findings
The 2023 holiday season appears set to be a busy one in airports and hotels, as nearly half of Americans plan to travel. Concerns about health and finances deter fewer from travel this year compared to 2022. Worries about flight delays and cancellations persist among some, but fewer cite them as a reason to avoid travel.
Intent to travel between Thanksgiving and mid-January is up across all age and income groups, according to findings from the 2023 Deloitte holiday survey. While reconnecting with friends and family remains paramount to travel during the holidays, fewer Americans are restricting their travel to visiting loved ones. The share of travelers planning to stay in hotels surged to 56%.
Hotels, airlines, and other travel suppliers will be happy to welcome back baby boomers this year. This group has generally shown more hesitancy than younger travelers since 2020, but boomers are back in big numbers, accounting for about a third of the traveling public during the 2023 holiday travel season. Gen Z accounts for a smaller share, as many are still under 18, but this younger generation is leading shifts toward social media and social consciousness in travel.
Finally, “revenge travel” may be fading but in its place, the recent restricted years seem to leave behind a legacy of enthusiasm for exploration. Among the 5% of Americans planning international trips, a greater number intend to visit South America and Asia, although the Caribbean, Mexico, and Europe remain the most popular destinations.
As the travel industry prepares for a busy holiday season, the time has never been better to deliver great experiences—and to deliver travelers to their destinations on time. Many indicate they have more trips in mind for the coming year. And as ever, the travel brands that help them make the best memories will be remembered and trusted as Americans ask themselves, “Where to next?”
Read on for key takeaways and download the full survey findings.
Forty-eight percent of Americans intend to travel over the holidays. Two major barriers to travel have declined significantly: In 2022, one in five nontravelers cited health worries or concerns about delays and cancellations as their reasons for staying home. This year, that dropped to one in 10. Intent to travel is up across the board, but it is poised to especially be felt by hotels.
Boomers are bringing a big boost to travel this season. They constituted just one-fifth of the traveling public over the holidays in 2022; this year, that will be close to one-third. Boomers’ planned spend and number of trips indicate a conservative approach, but they are embracing travel. Additionally (and promisingly), many boomers say they are holding back spend over the holidays so they can travel at a different time.
Gen Z travelers plan an average of 2.1 trips over the holidays, a close second to millennials at 2.2. One in four say they will significantly increase their budgets versus 2022, the highest portion of any generation. This age group is leading a major shift in travel planning—42% say they will use short social video apps to help plan their trips, versus just 14% of travelers in older generations.
“Revenge travel” appears to be fading, as fewer Americans cite “making up for trips lost due to pandemic” as a travel motivator. But some signals also indicate a boost to enthusiasm for travel after three years of restriction. Intent to stay in hotels is up and international destinations are poised to be farther flung.
A trend that persists is laptop lugging—about a third of travelers plan to work at least partially during their trips. These travelers skew young and high income. And far from working stiffs, they express high intent to engage with the destinations they visit.