Vacasa’s 2022 summer travel trends

Our hot take on who’s traveling this summer, where they’re heading, and why

Published April 2022

There’s just something about summer. From holiday barbeques and music festivals to extended family reunions and long-awaited vacations, these three months of sunshine are marked with anticipation. To figure out exactly how people are filling up their travel calendars, specifically, we teamed up with Allison+Partners to survey Americans about their upcoming vacation plans.* And, though there are still factors keeping people homebound, including rising gas prices and lingering (albeit significantly lower) COVID-19 concerns, there’s a spring in the step of the 3 in 5 Americans who are planning a summer getaway.

While people are most likely to travel for outdoor recreation this summer, they still plan to balance it with a bit of indulgence: exercising less often and splurging on food, drinks, and mementos. These splurge categories hold especially true for parents, half of whom are taking a trip without kids. We can all agree they’ve earned it, right?

Lastly, to leave you with some inspiration on where to escape for holiday weekends (don’t dally for Fourth of July) or week-long adventures alike, we rounded up Vacasa’s trending summer destinations. Spoiler alert: Not every spot making a splash is on the beach. But first, a look at the numbers:

A sunny travel outlook

  • Sixty-three percent of Americans plan to get away for a summer vacation—a slight jump from the 59% who planned to do so in 2021—while 1 in 5 Americans are still undecided on seasonal travel plans (20%).
  • Not only are more people planning trips this year, but they’ll be traveling more often: 85% of summer travelers say they are planning to vacation more frequently in summer 2022 than they did this time in 2021.
  • And the likelihood of travel only increases for people who can pack up the laptop and go: Those who work fully remote or in a hybrid format are both more likely to take a vacation this summer (75%) and more likely to travel more often than last year (91%).
  • While the majority of travelers (52%) are planning to take a long weekend as part of their summer travel plans, many are extending their vacations: 38% are traveling for 5–7 days, and 20% for longer than a week. Millennials are the generation most likely to favor shorter getaways, whether they are quick, two-night escapes (39%) or long weekend trips (64%).

What’s on the summer agenda

  • Approximately 3 in 4 travelers (74%) are planning to keep their summer trips within the United States, while 26% of travelers are planning international trips this year. When it comes to what international locales are attracting tourists, it’s almost evenly split between Canada and/or Mexico and countries farther abroad.
  • Fourth of July is the most popular summer holiday weekend for travel this year with nearly half of U.S. travelers (46%) planning to go somewhere, followed by Memorial Day (31%) and Labor Day (25%).
  • Americans traveling this summer are most likely to spend less time exercising (30%), while spending more time dining out (66%) and shopping (54%). However, 34% of traveling parents say they cook more on vacation than they do at home, compared to 26% of non-parents.
  • So thank mom and dad for dinner and, well, everything really: Turns out parents traveling this summer are splurging on food and drinks (77%), entertainment and activities (56%), and accommodations (42%) more so than non-parents (73%, 48%, and 30%, respectively).
  • Ahhh, the great outdoors: Waterfront escapes (57%) and national parks (36%) are the types of vacation destinations Americans are most likely to travel to this summer. Further, when it comes to what people are traveling for, recreational activities like hiking or snorkeling (41%) surpassed family-related events, such as birthdays or reunions (38%).

The vacation motivation

  • The most common motivation for Americans planning to travel in the current COVID-19 environment was the need for a change in scenery or company (40%), followed by pandemic-related restrictions loosening (33%). Meanwhile, 29% simply are not concerned about contracting the COVID-19 virus—an increase from the 22% who said so in a similar question asked in spring 2022.
  • Ready for some alone time? Yes, ap-parent-ly: 50% are planning to take a vacation with their spouse or partner this summer, and leave their child(ren) at home.
  • Of those not planning to travel this summer, 1 in 4 are waiting until travel and/or gas prices are lower, while 20% of Americans aren’t traveling because they still don’t feel safe due to COVID-19. That’s a sizable drop since a similar question was asked in spring 2022, when 35% didn’t feel safe traveling, and even more so since summer 2021, when 42% cited pandemic safety concerns.

Vacasa’s trending summer travel destinations

Thirty-two percent of travelers plan to stay in a vacation rental this summer—a slight bump up from our spring survey—because they feel it’s the best value for their money (58%), gives them access to private home amenities (54%), and provides more privacy (47%). Sounds like a win-win-win to us. So if you’re after a great vacation spot, with a great vacation rental to boot, here are five recreation-rich Vacasa destinations that are seeing a year-over-year jump in demand.

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*Methodology note: Allison+Partners surveyed 1,001 individuals over the age of 18 in the United States. The survey was fielded using the Qualtrics Insight Platform and panel was sourced from Lucid. Fielding was executed in March 2022.