Report: Vacationers Opting for Multiple Shorter Trips

METAIRIE — From the Gulf South Index:

Travel is back in full swing for the summer, whether you are having your best year yet or working hard to make ends meet. According to the 2023 Gulf South Index by The Ehrhardt Group and Causeway Solutions, 24% of Gulf South respondents and 29% of national respondents plan on spending money on a vacation this summer, compared to 23% for both groups last year.

But where we go, why we go and how we get there are all constantly changing considerations of how we are spending our leisure time. Longer (and more expensive) trips known as “marquee trips” are losing their luster in favor of multiple shorter trips to different destinations.

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The Basic Travel Trends of 2023

“Revenge travel,” Deloitte’s term for increased travel after two summers pent up at home, is still going strong. One in five travelers are still citing lost pandemic trips as their reason for prioritizing travel now.

  • Destination Hit List: In years past, it might have been popular to plan one big blowout summer trip that spanned across several days. Now, only 38% plan on taking trips for a week or longer, down significantly from 2022. 68% of travelers are prioritizing quick getaways, and the average number of trips is up to 3.1 compared to 2.3 from last year. Multiple short trips allow vacationers to get to all the spots they might have missed over the past couple of years, and usually end up costing less.
  • A New Definition of Business Travel: The popularity of remote work has made it easier for work and travel to intertwine. 19% of travelers plan on working remotely through their vacation. Not surprisingly, the trend is most popular with 18-34-year-olds, 50% of which plan on prioritizing computer time on vacation.

The Summer of The Road Trip

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Families are hitting the road to reach their destination. Morning Consult reports that 64% of U.S. adults with travel plans this summer will be driving their personal car.

  • Feeling the Financial Heat: Lower costs associated with road travel make the option more appealing for families and individuals who are still feeling the burn of inflation and economic uncertainty into the second half of 2023.
  • Traveling Responsibly: According to the 2023 Gulf South Index, 35% of Gulf South residents and national respondents believe they are worse off financially than last year, a 3% and 5% increase from last year, respectively. Deloitte reports one in four travelers feels financially worse off than last year as well. We might want to take a vacation to make us feel better, but we’re not in the shape to let that vacation break the bank.
  • Steering Clear from the Airways: More people may also be choosing to take control of their own travel to avoid airport delays and cancellations. Peaks in post-pandemic flights led to days-long delays and cancellations during the year, including Southwest Airlines’ complete breakdown in late 2022. Road trips leave a lot less up to fate and much more certainty in knowing when you’ll make it to your destination.

Set-jetting – Wanna Live Like Your Favorite Characters?

When picking a new favorite summer spot, many are now being influenced by their favorite shows. Morning Consult found that “set-jetting” – a vacation planned around a TV or movie destination – has been around for a while but is seeing heightened interest due to luxuriously-located programming such as Netflix’s “Emily in Paris” and MAX’s “The White Lotus.”

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  • Travel Inspo: 11% of U.S. adults credited the planning of a recent leisure trip to viewing it in a film or show, the same amount that credited advertisements as inspiration.
  • A Millennial-led Movement: 21% of millennials planned trips inspired by their favorite media, including podcasts and books as well as film and TV. As a generation that travels more than the rest, it’s hard to miss the importance of these mediums as an extra source of advertising.
  • Reality Bites: It’s no surprise the picturesque views of Paris and Sicily have drawn in viewers but set-jetting isn’t only successful for luxurious destinations abroad. The popular Netflix reality show “Love is Blind,” which films in Seattle, has 23% more interest in the city from those who have watched the show versus those who haven’t. Even without gratuitous glamour shots, people seem to have a vested interest in the real places they spend so much time with on their screens.

Wherever you’re jetting (or driving) off to this summer, many citizens may feel some level of financial sunburn. Prioritize what matters most to make your summer trips worth it – whether that be visiting loved ones, touring new places or walking in the footsteps of your TV heroes. Make up for lost time and soak it all in. 

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