Expedia.com unveils the top travel trends and tips for American travelers in 2021

Α Decrease font Enlarge font
Expedia.com unveils the top travel trends and tips for American travelers in 2021A bigger emphasis on flexibility and a list of trending destinations that are inspiring and attainable for the year ahead

 Whether it was by necessity or design, it's clear Americans spent 2020 exploring small towns, scenic drives, nearby lakes, and beaches, or in some cases, their own backyards. Today, Expedia.com® released its 2021 Travel Trends Report, analyzing traveler data to uncover the biggest takeaways from an unprecedented year, and what travelers can expect in the year ahead.

In addition to tapping into its own massive database of search and demand data, this year Expedia partnered with the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) for a deep dive on the effect of the pandemic on air travel. 

"It's no secret that air travel changed this year in ways we have never seen before, but people are still flying, and they will continue to fly. We are keeping a close eye on these changes to help travelers get the most from their journeys," says Chuck Thackston, Managing Director of Data Science and Research for ARC. "Expedia and ARC are teaming up again to get to the bottom of what's changed and equip travelers with new trip-planning insights to use when they do fly again."

Highlights from the report include:

  • Air travel trends and hacks
  • Traveler priorities in 2021
  • The top trending destinations of 2020
  • All the islands (and other dreamy destinations) on travelers' 2021 bucket lists

"What we learned by looking at traveler behaviors in a year as unusual as 2020 is that travel will always be an integral part of our lives," says Christie Hudson, Senior PR Manager for Expedia brand. "Travelers responded to the uncertainty and restrictions by finding ways to safely explore closer to home, and the result is a bigger emphasis on flexibility and a list of trending destinations that are inspiring and attainable for the year ahead."

Airfare Booking Hacks for 2021

For six years running, travelers have relied on the annual Expedia ARC report, which analyzes billions of flight segments, to provide insider tips and tricks for getting the most out of air travel. Considering the atypical year, a new cheat sheet is needed now more than ever.

Based on ARC data, average ticket prices (ATPs) for domestic flights hit their lowest in late April 2020 but have since started to recover. From May to October, prices were between 25-35 percent lower year-on-year but followed the usual seasonality curve. Meanwhile, ATPs for international flights briefly spiked in April before normalizing to 2019 levels in mid-June and finally settling between 30-35 percent lower year-on-year during the fall months. 

What this means for travelers is that while average ticket prices are historically low for both domestic and international flights, prices rise during peak travel periods such as spring break, summer, and the holidays. To get the best deal, travelers need to know when to book and start their trip.

Best day of the week to book1: Sunday

  • For domestic flights, book on Sunday, not Monday to save around 15 percent
  • For international flights, book on Sunday, not Friday to save more than 20 percent

Best day of the week to depart2: Thursday or Friday

  • For domestic flights, start your trip on Friday, not Monday to save around 20 percent
  • For international flights, start your trip on Thursday, not Sunday to save nearly 25 percent

Traveler Priorities in 2021

  • Flexibility isn't a "nice-to-have", it's required: In 2021, flexibility will continue to be top of mind for travelers, who booked refundable rates 10 percent more often this year compared to last. Luckily, flexibility is more affordable than ever: Expedia lodging data shows average daily rates for refundable bookings were 20 percent cheaper in 2020 compared to 2019.
  • Health and safety advancements: In the year to come, concerns about staying safe while traveling will continue to impact every aspect of trip planning, from what type of accommodations to choose to where to go to who to travel with. Since May, nearly 300,000 properties have added health and cleanliness information on Expedia.com, including enhanced cleaning, contactless check-in, social distancing and other guest safety measures.
  • Majority of travelers booking less than a month out: According to ARC data, in 2019, the average U.S. traveler booked flights around 35 days in advance of their departure date, but during the onset of the pandemic, that window lengthened to 46 days. The new normal (since August) is just 29 days out - the average advance purchase dropping below the 30-day mark for the first time in years - and illustrating how travelers have adapted to the rapidly changing environment. However, with airlines eliminating change fees travelers may feel more confident booking further out, knowing they can always change their plans down the road.
  • Growth in alternative accommodations: While the most popular lodging type in 2020 was hotels, the types of accommodations showing the biggest growth compared to last year were castles, ranches, cabins, chalets, and cottages.3 These types of retreats, typically found outside of big cities, were the perfect getaway spots for travelers in search of wide-open spaces, nature, and privacy. This trend is expected to continue as people look to travel safely amid the pandemic. Whether it's a hotel, vacation rental, or chalet, Expedia lodging data shows the cheapest days to stay are Sunday through Tuesday, so try scheduling a long weekend trip at the start of the week instead of the end.4
  • Maximizing the trip: During a lockdown, many travelers relied on virtual tours and activities to satisfy wanderlust. But once able to roam again, whether it was just within their own cities or on a proper getaway, travelers resumed looking to activities as a way to get the most out of their trips. These are a few of the top trending activities booked on Expedia.com: the nation's largest and longest-running flower show, this boat tour in Miami's Biscayne Bay and this ATV and ziplining adventure in the Cenotes.

2020's Trending Destinations

This year's list5 might look a bit different than last year's, with backyard beaches and outdoorsy escapes taking the place of exotic international destinations. Still, these domestic gems are proof there's plenty to explore even when travelers are staying closer to home.

  1. Lake Havasu, Arizona
  2. New Bern, North Carolina
  3. The Hamptons, New York
  4. Ocean City, Maryland
  5. Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri
  6. Panama City, Florida
  7. South Padre Island, Texas
  8. Lincoln, New Hampshire
  9. Sun Valley / Central Idaho
  10. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

The Next Big Trip: Top-searched destinations for 2021 and beyond

While nearby escapes and road trips are likely to remain popular as travelers navigate the ongoing realities of life amid a pandemic, search data6 proves that aspirations persist for grander, far-flung vacations. More specifically, it seems vacation-deprived Americans dreaming of their next trip fall into one of two categories:

Island escapists. Looking at the top 20 destinations, half are islands and another third are popular beach resorts. After a year like 2020, it's not hard to imagine why so many travelers want to escape to an island the next chance they get.

  • Cancun (#1)
  • Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum (#2)
  • Punta Cana (#5)
  • Oahu (#6)
  • Maui (#7)
  • Los Cabos (#9)
  • French Polynesia (#10)
  • Maldives (#11)
  • Montego Bay (#12)
  • Aruba (#13)
  • Puerto Vallarta (#14)
  • Key West (#16)
  • Nassau (#18)
  • Bali (#20)

The urban returner. Larger cities haven't seen their usual tourist bustle over the past year, but search results make it clear that travelers are eager to return and enjoy all the culture, activities, and experiences that you can only find in these iconic U.S. cities.

  • Las Vegas (#3)
  • Orlando (#4)
  • Miami (#8)
  • New York (#15)
  • Los Angeles (#17)
  • New Orleans (#19)

With COVID-19, it's important to stay safe and up to date on the latest travel guidance and restrictions. Find out what to expect, how to find flexible travel, and other information on the Expedia COVID-19 travel guide. 

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinationsGreek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

 

Tornos
  1. 30/07 16:33

    Revenue from Cyprus tourism shows small rise in May

  2. 30/07 14:16

    Minister: All competent authorities to coordinate to deal with heatwave in Greece

  3. 30/07 11:37

    Covid-19 vaccination appointment platform for children over 12 opens in Greece

  4. 30/07 10:29

    Olympic Yacht Show 2021 on October 1-5 at 'Olympic Marine' in Lavrion port

  5. 30/07 10:26

    UNWTO: Green hotel investments to #RESTARTTOURISM

  6. 29/07 15:54

    President of Hellenic Republic receives Greek, Cypriot and Egyptian students

  7. 29/07 15:26

    PM: The dynamism of the Greek-American community is encouraging

  8. 29/07 15:11

    Australian national with pending Interpol's red notice arrested on Mykonos island

  9. 29/07 14:19

    Special meeting on role of education against misinformation and fake news in Greece

  10. 29/07 13:59

    Greece expects big money in attracting the elderly for wellness tourism

  11. 29/07 12:15

    Greek teachers projected to be next in line for mandatory Covid-19 shots

  12. 29/07 11:05

    Greece records 2,874 new Covid-19 infections and 15 fatalities on Wednesday

  13. 29/07 09:08

    IATA statement on UK recognition of vaccinated travelers from the EU and US

  14. 29/07 08:31

    Air cargo records strongest first half-year growth since 2017

  15. 28/07 15:17

    May international air cargo traffic 9.4% above Pre-COVID-19 levels

  16. 28/07 15:02

    Greece and European Union sign funding agreement for "Greece 2.0" plan

  17. 28/07 14:58

    Unvaccinated students carred from universities in Greece after autumn

  18. 28/07 14:52

    Minister: More than 5 milliion Greeks to be fully vaccinated on Thursday

  19. 28/07 14:42

    Greek Foreign Minister welcomes King Abdullah of Jordan to Athens

  20. 28/07 14:34

    Heatwave in Greece during the next days

  21. 28/07 12:46

    Zagori Mountain Running: 2,600 athletes from 27 countries took part

  22. 28/07 11:06

    Greek artist Tsarouchis show ‘Dancing in Real Life’ runs through July 31 in Chicago

  23. 28/07 10:37

    Ruins of ancient banquet hall discovered in Paphos of Cyprus

  24. 28/07 10:22

    Vision of the New Greece presented at AHEPA Supreme Convention in Athens

  25. 27/07 23:35

    Greece records 3,593 new Covid-19 infections and eight fatalities on Tuesday

  26. 27/07 21:48

    Greek state budget shows primary deficit of 9.1 billion euros between January-June

  27. 27/07 21:19

    Diplomats: Israel shows strong will to enhnace cooperation with Cyprus

  28. 27/07 21:08

    AHEPA’s 99th Anniversary Supreme Convention is in full swing in the Greek capital

  29. 27/07 20:15

    Greek Civil Aviation Authority adds self-test to domestic flight requirements for minors 12–17

  30. 27/07 17:38

    Greek Cultural Center hosts Music Production Class between August 24-September 21

  31. 27/07 13:51

    COVID-19's grip on Greece set to loosen in August

  32. 27/07 10:57

    Greek government announces minimum wage raise by 2%

  33. 26/07 21:52

    Vaccination appointments for children aged 12-15 to become available in Greece on Friday

  34. 26/07 21:40

    Greece-Cyprus-Jordan summit at Zappeion Megaron of Athens on Wednesday

  35. 26/07 21:01

    Management consulting firms more optimistic over economic developments in Greece

  36. 26/07 20:57

    AHEPA’s 99th Anniversary Convention commences with thanks and welcomes in Athens

  37. 26/07 19:53

    Covid-19 restrictions imposed on Greek island of Mykonos lifted

  38. 26/07 19:49

    Greece records 2,070 new Covid-19 infections and five fatalities on Monday

  39. 26/07 19:06

    IATA adds Environmental Sustainability program to its training curriculum

  40. 26/07 15:02

    Doors open for Greece's Covid-19 vaccinated but close for the unvaccinated

  41. 26/07 00:46

    Greece records 1,533 new Covid-19 cases and eight 8 fatalities on Sunday

  42. 25/07 21:51

    AP: Europe's summer tourism outlook dimmed by variants and rules

  43. 25/07 18:42

    Greece's COVID-19 unvaccinated people won't be barred from retail stores

  44. 25/07 15:55

    Study: Pfizer and Astra Zeneca vaccines' effectiveness against the Delta variant

  45. 25/07 12:36

    Incentives to doctors and pharmacists to persuade Greek citizens to get vaccines

  46. 24/07 23:45

    IATA slams European Commission slots decision out of touch with reality

  47. 24/07 00:08

    No vaccinations needed but tests for Greece's tourism workers required

  48. 23/07 20:49

    The 5th Annual World Council of Epirotans Abroad on July 24 through Zoom

  49. 23/07 18:52

    Cyprus hοteliers say Israel's decision for travel ''a negative development''

  50. 23/07 18:43

    Greek government will pay doctors and pharmacists to give COVID-19 vaccines

  51. 23/07 16:38

    Greek Shipping MInister urges travelers to observe safety measures

  52. 23/07 14:46

    European Union greenlights €100 million to support health system in Greece

  53. 22/07 21:07

    Greek authorities will require COVID-19 vaccinations for health care workers

  54. 22/07 20:55

    Greek Prime Minister: Mental health is of vital importance (video)

  55. 22/07 19:45

    Old Acropolis Museum in Athens being refurbished as exhibition space

  56. 22/07 19:34

    Greece records 2,604 new Covid-19 infections and five fatalities on Thursday

  57. 22/07 16:29

    Global travel largely on hold despite rise in May

  58. 22/07 16:02

    Greek FinMin launches e-platform for debt settlement for vulnerable households

  59. 22/07 15:40

    IATA: Aviation passengers confident in onboard safety

  60. 22/07 15:23

    Greek government: Vaccinations expected to exceed 10 million on Thursday

  61. 22/07 14:51

    IATA, IATAN and ARC to jointly offer tourism diploma courses for US travel agents

  62. 22/07 12:58

    International Air Transport Association warns governments on high cost of testing

  63. 21/07 22:48

    Russian Airlines to resume regular flights to Greece as of July 24

  64. 21/07 22:43

    Mandatory vaccination amendment submitted in Greek Parliament imposes large fines

  65. 21/07 22:32

    Greek Tourism Ministry clarifies indoor venue requirements for non-EU citizens

  66. 21/07 20:37

    Zagori Mountain Running 2021 schedule announced with top athletes visiting Epirus

  67. 21/07 18:54

    Greece records 2,972 new Covid-19 infections and three fatalities on Wednesday

  68. 21/07 18:54

    Greece records 2,972 new Covid-19 infections and three fatalities on Wednesday

  69. 21/07 16:52

    Greek island of Skiathos world’s third most beautiful film location

  70. 21/07 16:06

    Greek fans fly to watch Giannis Antetokounmpo soar to the top

  71. 21/07 15:17

    Greek PM: 120,000 young people between 18-25 have applied for the Freedom Pass

  72. 21/07 10:17

    Greece plans vaccinating 12-15 year-olds in campaign against COVID-19

  73. 21/07 00:13

    Foreign tourist arrivals in Greece reached 2.3 million already

  74. 21/07 00:00

    Sting to appear in Athens for two concerts marking his 70th birthday

  75. 20/07 22:52

    Greek PM announces plan to overhaul 'abandoned' Olympic Games complex

  76. 20/07 21:49

    The Greek Online School unveils results of its Greek language survey

  77. 20/07 19:44

    Greece records 3,565 new Covid-19 infections and nine fatalities on Tuesday

  78. 20/07 19:33

    3rd Balkan Forum at Thessaloniki to be organized on September 24-25

  79. 20/07 18:46

    WTTC responds to the relaxing of restrictions across the United Kingdom

  80. 20/07 18:40

    Greek Tourism Minister: Arrivals in June 50% up compared to July 2020 reopening

  81. 20/07 18:09

    Conde Nast Traveller presents 13 restaurants in Santorini

  82. 20/07 15:36

    IATA welcomes further easing of border restrictions by Canadian authorities

  83. 20/07 13:25

    Jet2 Group: Britons start holidays in 40 destinations without quarantine

  84. 19/07 22:41

    Greece records 1,834 new Covid-19 infections and eight fatalities on Monday

  85. 19/07 20:13

    Appointments platform opens on Tuesday for people being vaccinated at home in Greece

  86. 19/07 17:21

    Greek PM on Messinia tour: Vaccination of children will not be obligatory

  87. 19/07 15:24

    Cyprus residents travelling abroad record sharp annual spike in June 2021

  88. 19/07 14:17

    Tourist arrivals record rise in Cyprus during June 2021

  89. 17/07 21:58

    Germany declares Greece and Netherlands 'risk areas' for Covid-19 infections

  90. 17/07 17:59

    AHEPA’s Supreme Convention returns to Hellenic homeland in 2021

  91. 17/07 15:39

    Greek island of Mykonos under curfew to Monday over rise in Covid-19 cases

  92. 17/07 15:02

    Boat travel requirements recapped by Shipping Ministry in Greece

  93. 16/07 14:45

    WTTC: Approved vaccine inconsistency could delay the restart of international travel

  94. 15/07 20:33

    4th Investors Forum 2021 in Athens: Four ministers outline government's work and outlook

  95. 15/07 19:35

    Greece in USA’s The Right to Breathe exhibition to last from July 14 to October 8

  96. 15/07 18:22

    Greece records 2,794 new Covid-19 infections and six fatalities on Thursday

  97. 15/07 18:01

    Greece forbids entry to more foreign nationals in updated health notam

  98. 15/07 17:31

    Greek Finance Minister reveals plan to increase number of tranches of pandemic debts

  99. 15/07 17:06

    First International standard on accessible tourism for all announced

  100. 15/07 16:10

    15 Italian youngsters self-isolating on Ios island after five test positive for Covid-19