Deloitte: Summer Travel Stays the Course Amid Pricing Pressures

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Thursday, May 23rd, 2024

Key takeaways


  • Amid rising prices, Americans still value their travel plans, as 48% of those surveyed plan to travel and stay in paid lodging, on par with last year, but take fewer vacations overall this summer.
  • Higher prices are raising budgets as 1 in 5 of those surveyed say they will spend significantly more on their 2024 travels compared to last year.
  • Air travel soars, both at home and abroad as 52% of all summer travelers surveyed plan to fly domestically and 22% plan to fly internationally.
  • Summer traveler demographics are shifting as a larger share of higher-income and older travelers has a significant impact on travel budgets.
  • Workplace flexibility and remote work continue to drive travel plans, as 21% of those surveyed plan to work during, and for more of, their longest trip this summer.

Why this matters

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% plan to stay in paid lodging (down from 50% 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%) say they will spend significantly more on their 2024 travels. This is mainly due to rising prices and travelers taking more ambitious trips.

  • More higher income travelers are driving up average travel budgets. The rise in higher income travelers has increased budget for travelers' longest trips by 18%. Households with income over $100k

     represented 35% of travelers in summer 2023; in 2024, they represent 44%.

  • 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%) of non-travelers are planning to stay home due to the current costs of travel, up eight percentage points from 2023.

  • Rest (53%) and romance (35%) surge as travel motivators, while travel planned for a specific event is also up five percentage points year-over-year. Though travel motivators do not typically shift much, they have been relatively inconsistent in recent years — indicating Americans maybe rethinking travel's role in their lives.

  • Similar to last year, many travelers plan to engage in in-destination travel experiences, such as an adventure or outdoor activity (49%), visiting a major attraction (48%) or taking a guided tour (34%). Interest in ticketed events like festivals or concerts also continues to climb, as nearly 3 in 10 (28%) say they will do so.

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% plan to stay in private rentals, and those planning to stay in other places such as bed and breakfasts (B&Bs) or recreational vehicles (RVs) are up 8% from 2023 to 14%.

  • Six in 10 of the paid lodging travelers who are flying will take a domestic flight (62%) for their marquee trip, and 38% will take an international flight.

  • After a rush to Europe last year, international travelers are diversifying destinations for their longest trip of the season. Intent to travel to Asia has seen the greatest leap, up three percentage points from 2023.

  • Forty-three percent of air travelers are willing to pay for more comfortable flight experiences (such as upgraded seats), up from 39% in 2023.

  • More Americans plan to hit the road for their marquee trips this year (66% compared to 56% in 2023) with nearly half driving to save money and 42% saying it is because they are traveling to a closer destination.

Key quote

"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. 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."

—  Mike Daher, vice chair, Deloitte LLP and U.S. transportation, hospitality and services non-attest leader

Travelers navigate new tools for planning

Americans are leveraging new tools to uncover deals as they plan their summer excursions.

  • While more say they plan to book their lodging direct, intent to book through online travel agencies (OTAs) is up (20% versus 16% in 2023), driven largely by younger, higher income travelers.

  • Only one-third (35%) of this year's summer trips were fully booked as of March.

  • Younger travelers (44% of Gen Z and one-third millennials) are leaning into short video to find activities to fill their vacation itineraries. Of them, millennials are more likely to do so to find restaurants (61%).

  • The use of GenAI in travel planning has slowed, with minimal gains. One in 10 plan to use GenAI in trip planning (compared to 8% during the 2023 holiday season).

Laptop luggers are bringing more work along

The flexibility of remote work, perhaps the pandemic's most lasting impact on the travel industry, is continuing to show its impact as more "laptop luggers" plan to work more often during their summer trips.

  • One in 5 (21%) travelers plan to work on their longest trip this summer, up slightly from last year — but more say they will work throughout the entire trip rather than just part of it.

  • Laptop luggers continue to extend their travel plans due to the flexibility to work remotely. They expect to extend their seasonal travel by nine days and their longest trip by four days.

  • Those who plan to work on their trips are also more likely to have higher budgets than disconnectors (

    $4,157 compared to $3,259).
  • Laptop luggers consider several key elements when making travel plans: availability of stable internet, good food near their accommodations, and refundable activity bookings.

Key quote

"Workplace flexibility continues to fuel travel decisions for laptop luggers and opportunities for providers. While financial concerns are keeping some Americans grounded, a delay in booking provides an opportunity for travel suppliers to double-down on offerings that maximize value and lure additional travelers to destinations near and far."

—  Eileen Crowley, vice chair, Deloitte LLP, and U.S. transportation, hospitality and services attest leader

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.

Connect with us on Twitter at @DeloitteUS or LinkedIn @MikeDaher and @EileenCrowley.