US: The 5 most popular travel themes of 2023
April 17th, 2023, Hoang Nguyen

US: The 5 most popular travel themes of 2023

There are many reasons why Americans will take a vacation this year, with a need to escape routine, visiting loved ones and wellness being some of the top motivators.

A new report from YouGov reveals that many people in the US are placing greater weight on travel since the pandemic, especially young adults. Data from YouGov’s “Luxury travel post-pandemic" shows that 26% of US adults say travel has become more important to them since Covid-19.

This urgency to travel is even more prevalent among US adults aged 18-24, with 41% saying travel is a greater priority for them. What’s more, 50% of young US adults are looking for more meaningful travel experiences since the pandemic (vs. 33% of all US adults).

Download YouGov’s new global report into luxury travel in the post-pandemic world.

We’ve dug into travel motivations in the US to uncover the top reasons spurring people to pursue travel in 2023.

1. A need to escape from routine

The desire to break out of the daily grind is the top travel motivator this year. Whether it’s a weekend getaway to a nearby city or a longer vacation to a far-flung destination, people are looking to shake up their routine and experience something new.

According to YouGov’s travel poll, more than two-fifths of US consumers (43%) say they need to get away from home. This is especially true of parents with at least one child under the age of 18. At least half of this group says they are just looking to just get away or just need a vacation away from home (52%).

2. Traveling for people

Visiting loved ones remains a significant motivation for many US travelers in 2023. From family reunions to weddings and other gatherings, people are eager to reconnect with the people who matter most to them.

This is the second-most important factor in people’s travel decisions this year, with 41% of US consumers saying they are looking to visit family or friends on their next trip.

3. Relaxation and wellness

One of the most notable trends in American travel recently is the emphasis on relaxation and wellness. After three years of stress and uncertainty, many people are seeking out destinations that offer opportunities to relax and unwind.

From spa visits and yoga retreats to luxury resorts and beach vacations, more than a third of US consumers (36%) will prioritize their well-being on their next trip.

4. Bucket list travel

Chasing dream destinations and ticking off bucket list items continue to be a motivating factor for many American travelers. Social media likely plays a strong role here and people are more aware than ever of exotic destinations and unique experiences.

Whether it's seeing the Northern Lights in Norway, viewing the cherry blossoms in Japan, exploring the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu or swimming with whale sharks in the Philippines, many travelers are determined to make their travel dreams a reality.

Our data indicates that chasing dream destinations is a powerful draw for travel and one that’s tied with relaxation/wellness travel. More than one in three US consumers (36%) say they want to travel this year to go to a destination they’ve always dreamed of visiting.

5. The thrill of adventure

Finally, adventure travel continues to be a driving force for many travelers. Whether it's summitting a mountain, scuba diving in a remote coral reef, or embarking on a safari in Africa, there is a growing segment of travelers seeking out experiences that challenge them physically and mentally.

More than quarter of US consumers indicate they want their next travel destination to be an adventurous trip (28%). Notably, adventure travel is the second-most popular type of travel for young people aged 18-34 this year (40%).

Other key travel themes

One of the latest trends in travel involves people seeking out destinations from their favorite TV shows and films. Dubbed “set-jetting”, travelers are inspired by popular media to visit places such as Dubrovnik (Game of Thrones), Maui and Taormina (The White Lotus), and Paris (Emily in Paris).

Data from YouGov’s poll shows that 14% of US adults say they want to visit somewhere they’ve seen in a movie or TV. This figure rises to 19% among those aged 18-34, indicating the strong demand for set-jetting among younger travelers.

Read YouGov’s new “Luxury travel post-pandemic" report to learn more about what motivates affluent consumers to travel. Download the free report for further insights into:

  • What luxury travel looks like post-pandemic
  • What luxury travel experiences consumers and affluent consumers are seeking
  • What they are prepared to pay for
  • What they aspire to, and ultimately, what their future luxury travel experience will look like

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Photo by Christopher Ruel on Unsplash