Vacasa’s 2023 Fall Travel Trends

Budget-friendly destinations and motivations are top-of-mind this season

Published September 2023

moosehead lake vacation home with covered front porch with adirondack chairs and an american flag

The time has come to trade in swimwear for sweaters as we fall into a new season. To understand how people are gearing up for fall travel, Vacasa and Allison + Partners joined to survey 1,000 Americans over the age of 18 to get a (leaf) peep into their 2023 fall travel plans.

For most Americans, 60% are planning to travel for a vacation or getaway during the 2023 fall season, with 71% of fall travelers planning on traveling more frequently this season than they did last season. And, for a majority of those opting into fall getaways, budget-friendly travel is still a top priority. For example, road trips are the preferred method of transportation as airfares continue to soar and flight changes/cancellations have people weary.

Those keeping an eye on their bank accounts are also more likely to stay in a vacation rental over other accommodations (38% vs. 19% non-budget-conscious travelers). In fact, a majority of fall travelers choosing to stay in a vacation rental are doing so because it provides the most value for their money. with 56% saying that a vacation home provides the most value for their money.

Whether you’re looking and booking to take in the colors of the Northeast, visit a winery and pick pumpkins in the Pacific Northwest, or escape to a sunny beach in the South, there are plenty of options to pile up the memories this fall.

Let's jump into the pile of leaves (or rather, survey data) and see what trends.

A graphic highlighting fall travel trends highlighting where folks are going.

Where they’re going

  • Multiple trips, both near and far. 76% of travelers are planning on traveling to a destination within the United States away from their town of primary residence, with two-thirds of these individuals (67%) planning on traveling 500 miles or less from their home. However, more than half of Americans are going to a U.S. destination farther from home, as 54% say they plan to travel more than 500 miles away – a jump from the 41% who indicated such last fall.*
  • Let’s go to the beach. 43% of travelers are heading to a beach destination this fall, followed by an urban/city destination (40%) and a leisure destination (e.g., vineyard, small town, etc.) (35%).
  • Different generations choose different destinations. Boomers are the most likely to be planning a vacation within the United States (97%), while Millennials are the most likely to be going to an international destination (68%).
  • All roads lead somewhere. Alongside Gen Z (51%), those in the Boomer generation and older most often say they’ll be traveling to a beach destination this fall (34%). Meanwhile, Gen X most often indicate they’re planning a trip to a leisure destination, such as a vineyard or small town (42%), with Millennials opting for urban/city destinations (46%).
A graphic highlighting fall travel trends highlighting why people are going where they are.

Why they’re going

  • Family first. 36% of travelers are planning to travel for a family-related event this fall (e.g., a family member’s birthday, family reunion, etc.), while 30% are traveling for outdoor recreation (e.g., hiking, camping, etc.) and 30% for a holiday-related event (e.g., Halloween, Thanksgiving, religious holidays, etc.).
  • Seeing the sights. One in five are taking a leaf-peeping trip this season (19%), with Millennials the most likely generation to do so (25%).
  • The top priorities for travelers this fall are going somewhere that is within their budget (45%) followed by going somewhere that allows them to truly unplug/disconnect (37%) and going somewhere that is family-friendly (36%)
  • Finding Instagrammable moments. For those traveling in larger groups of 4 or more other people, going somewhere photo-worthy is a top priority (46%) – more so than smaller groups of 3 or fewer other people (39%), who are more focused on going somewhere that’s convenient to travel to (41%).
  • Watching budgets and schedules. 46% of travelers indicated that the cost of the trip was the main influence over the length of their vacation(s) this fall, ​​followed by having to take time off from work or their other every-day responsibilities (42%).
A graphic highlighting fall travel trends highlighting how folks travel.

How they’re going

  • Seeking a bang for their buck. 60% of travelers indicated that prices, whether that’s high gas prices or expensive flight prices, have impacted how they plan to travel this fall.
  • Planes, trains … but mostly automobiles. Nearly three-fourths of travelers are driving to their fall destinations this season (74%), with 54% planning on flying.
A graphic highlighting fall travel trends highlighting who's going.

Who’s going

  • Mentally, I’m on vacation. A whopping 90% of Millennials are taking a holiday trip this season.
  • Who’s planning? Millennials (82%) and Gen Z (68%) are the most likely generations to have fall vacation plans, compared to 44% of those Gen X and older.
  • I’m looking at you, TikTok. Gen X, Boomers and Silent Gen most often reach out to family, friends and colleagues for their fall vacation inspiration (57%), while Millennials and Gen Z rely heavily on social media (68%).

*Respondents were given the ability to select multiple options to account for multiple trips during the season.

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