As we head into the winter season, we surveyed over 1,000 Americans and analyzed internal data to get insights into holiday travel plans, popular winter destinations, sentiments on Thanksgiving vs. Friendsgiving, traveling with friends, workcations, and more.
Top 5 U.S. Destinations for American Travelers This Holiday Season
With 25% of Americans seeking a family-friendly experience, it’s no surprise that ski, beach, and mountain destinations are dominating bookings this holiday season.
Top 5 International Destinations for U.S. Travelers This Holiday Season
52% of Americans plan to hop on a flight over the holidays, with 15% traveling to an international destination.
The Most Popular Winter Destination
Winter Season: 12/21/23 to 3/19/24
| ||2023 ||2022 |
|United States ||Key West, Florida ||Key West, Florida |
|International ||Whistler, Canada ||San Juan, Puerto Rico |
Busiest Days to Travel
If you’re traveling on the Saturday before Christmas or New Year, you are not alone! According to our data, December 23 and 30 are shaping up to be the busiest travel days of the season.
When asked to select reasons for traveling this holiday season, travelers shared that 54% of them want to relax and rejuvenate, 52% want to spend time with family, 38% want to explore, and 36% hope to reduce stress.
The top reasons Americans plan to avoid seeing family over the holidays include family politics or drama (28%) and too much fighting (20%).
of Americans plan to travel more in 2024 compared to 2023
of those we surveyed said they have taken on debt to travel
of parents say they’d be willing to take their children out of school to travel this winter
Top Vacation Destinations in the U.S. for New Year’s Eve
61% of U.S. travelers plan to ring in the New Year with family. Check out the top destinations to welcome 2024.
- While 86% will celebrate Thanksgiving with family, 36% say they will also celebrate a Thanksgiving-themed meal among close friends — also known as Friendsgiving
- Friendsgiving is even more popular with younger generations, with half of Gen Z (50%) and Millennials (54%) planning to celebrate this year
- While 56% of Americans will stay with parents or extended family, 31% of travelers plan to book a hotel for Thanksgiving
- 61% of Americans will spend New Year’s Eve with family
- But 59% strongly agree or somewhat agree that New Year’s Eve is “one of the most overrated holidays,” with 57% sharing they plan to go to bed early
- 32% of Americans plan to travel around New Year’s Eve, while 48% plan on staying local
- While 39% of parents say they are afraid their kids will fall behind in school or miss activities, 64% still say they’d be willing to take their children out of school to travel this winter
- Reasons for skipping school to travel include: it’s less stressful (54%), thinner crowds (50%), less traffic (43%), and better prices on prices on flights and accommodations (35%)
- 70% admit higher prices or economic pressures have made them hesitant to travel
- 49% have reconsidered vacation plans due to a looming recession or potential layoffs
- Younger generations are reconsidering travel plans at a higher rate, with 71% of Millennials and 62% of Gen Z rethinking plans due to the economic environment
Traveling With Friends
- Balancing various spending styles and financial disparities can make trip planning stressful, so it’s no surprise that 75% prefer to travel with friends with similar budgets
- When planning a group trip with friends on a tight budget for food, hotels, and excursions, 42% of Americans say they would change their plans to be more budget-friendly for all guests
- 37% of travelers said they would politely decline a trip if they couldn’t afford it
- 54% of American travelers overall admit they have combined leisure travel with business trips
- The number skews higher for Millennials, as 73% share they’ve taken advantage of the “bleisure” or “workcation” travel trend
- 68% of men have combined their business trips with leisure travel, compared to only 24% of women
VacationRenter surveyed over 1,000 Americans to determine key insights about their upcoming winter and holiday travel plans. We combined it with year-to-date booking data to offer insights into the destinations and the experiences travelers are seeking this season.