Deloitte: Summer travel stays the course amid pricing pressures

Perceptions of rising costs and other economic pressures are likely leading some Americans to reconsider how they travel. While some feel priced out of travel, those who are taking trips remain determined to maximize their travel experiences. In its new report, "Vacations Pass the Value Test: 2024 Deloitte Summer Travel Survey," Deloitte examines the trends and preferences that could shape the upcoming summer travel season.

Vacations pass the value test, despite pricing pressures

While economic pressures may have some reconsidering the frequency and duration of their trips, most remain committed to traveling this summer. In addition, many Americans are reevaluating what travel means to them, putting more emphasis on rest and reconnection, and seeking opportunities to make the most of their trip experiences.

  • Six in 10 Americans surveyed plan to travel this summer and 48 percent plan to stay in paid lodging (down from 50 percent in 2023).
  • Americans plan to travel like it's 2022: They plan to take 2.3 trips this summer, down from 3.1 trips in 2023 but on par with 2022.
  • For those who are traveling, nearly 1 in 5 (19 percent) say they will spend significantly more on their 2024 travels. This is mainly due to rising prices and travelers taking more ambitious trips.
  • Many are determining budgets based on their overall financial situation. Travelers who feel their finances have improved in the last year will spend $528 more than the average traveler on their longest trip, compared to those who feel it has worsened, who will spend $855 less.
  • Two-thirds of Boomers are traveling this summer but are planning to spend more conservatively on their longest trip, primarily to allow for more trips throughout the year.
  • Price is causing some to reconsider travel altogether. One-third (32 percent) of non-travelers are planning to stay home due to the current costs of travel, up eight percentage points from 2023.
  • Similar to last year, many travelers plan to engage in in-destination travel experiences, such as an adventure or outdoor activity (49 percent), visiting a major attraction (48 percent) or taking a guided tour (34 percent). Interest in ticketed events like festivals or concerts also continues to climb, as nearly 3 in 10 (28 percent) say they will do so.
Deloitte summer 2024 travel chart

Travel products pack a balance between experience and cost

Travelers are willing to pay for an enhanced vacation experience this summer, but are considering alternative lodging and transportation, as well as new travel locations, to stretch their budgets. Non-hotel lodging may see a bump in demand, while international travel intent remains consistent, though the destination mix is shifting.

Hotels still account for a majority share of summer travel bookings but are down. Sixty-three percent of paid lodging travelers are only staying at hotels on their marquee trip, down 10 percentage points from 2023. At the same time, more travelers are exploring alternative lodging: 23 percent plan to stay in private rentals, and those planning to stay in other places such as bed and breakfasts or recreational vehicles are up 8 percent from 2023 to 14 percent.

"Despite many Americans feeling financial turbulence, travelers continue to place a premium on experiences, and intent to travel is similar to last summer. There is a perception that airfares and room rates are high, and some Americans are sitting out travel this summer as they look for softer pricing, showing signs they are hungry for deals and being intentional about pursuing experiences they perceive as special enough to be worth the higher spend," Mike Daher, vice chair, Deloitte LLP and U.S. transportation, hospitality and services non-attest leader, said in a statement. "As travelers look to pack the most value into their summer trips, providers have an opportunity to balance quality and cost to provide unforgettable moments for those who are looking to make the most of their travels this summer."

Deloitte's "2024 Summer Travel Survey" is based on a survey of 4,022 Americans fielded between March 20 and April 2, 2024. Of these, 2,348 qualified as travelers, and a smaller subset of 1,936 travelers who said they would stay in paid lodging, rather than only with family or friends, completed the longest version of the survey.