Where We're Traveling This Summer
Gas prices and airfare costs have increased significantly in recent months, but not even that will stop Americans from taking a summer vacation.
Some 60% of consumers admit gas prices influence their travel plans, but more than 80% plan to take a vacation this year anyway, according to an Orbitz survey of 1,000 American travelers. That said, those who do plan to get away in the coming months intend to stick to a strict budget and are choosing destinations accordingly.
“The consumer intention to travel is there, but there are price parameters as well,” said Brian Hoyt, vice president of communications for Orbitz, a travel site. “Consumers are putting price caps in place and looking for ways to make their vacation plans work in that budget.”
Of course, with airfare up and the cost of a tank of gas spiraling upward as well, it’s difficult if not impossible to save money on your vacation. But as Hoyt points out, there are plenty of deals still to be found once you get where you’re going, as hotel costs in many cities throughout the U.S. are actually on the decline.
Photo Credit: .bala
Follow the Savings
The average hotel rate listed on Orbitz dropped to $86 a night this year, down from $94 on average last summer, and in some cities the drop has been even steeper. That may be in part because hotels and motels have less pricing power than airlines and are still struggling to attract cash-strapped consumers.
The trick, then, is to pick a city for your getaway with the most affordable lodging opportunities, and many travelers seem to be doing just that.
Orbitz compiled data for package vacations (hotels and airfare together) booked on the site with departure dates between June 1 and Aug. 31 to determine the major cities in the U.S. and abroad the most travelers are planning to visit this summer.
The data, which are based on bookings made by April 18, also include information about year-over-year changes in round-trip airfare costs and daily hotel rates (from listings on Orbitz) to provide a more complete picture of how price is influencing consumer travel decisions.
With that in mind, here are the 10 most popular cities to travel to this summer. If you haven’t already booked your own trip, these destinations have proven most popular with cost-conscious travelers.
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10th Most Popular: Boston
Boston has proved to be one of the most desirable destinations this year, perhaps helped in part by modest airfare costs. Round-trip flights to Boston cost just $360, the second-cheapest of any city on this list. That airfare represents an 8% increase from the year before, which may not sound like much of a deal, but that actually ties for the smallest year-over-year increase of any of the top 10 cities.
Average Airfare: $360
Average Daily Hotel Rate: $204
Photo Credit: Getty
Ninth Most Popular: Cancun
Cancun is the most popular international destination for U.S. travelers — and the only city outside the U.S. to make the list — but its popularity has taken a hit in the last year. The city ranked as the second-most-popular destination last summer, according to Orbitz, but may have dropped down this year in part because airfare costs spiked by 14% year over year, coming close to the $500 mark for a round trip. As Hoyt points out, part of this increase may have been due to the largest Mexican carrier, Mexicana Airlines, filing for bankruptcy last year.
Aside from the increase in costs, Hoyt also speculates that rampant violence along the Mexican border may be scaring some tourists away from the idea of taking a vacation to the country, even to a place as tourist-friendly as Cancun.
Average Airfare: $488
Average Daily Hotel Rate: $196
Photo Credit: Getty
Eighth Most Popular: Chicago
If you’re willing to pay the cost of airfare, or can find another way to get to Chicago, this may be the year to go, as hotel costs have actually declined by 3% from last year.
Average Airfare: $464
Average Daily Hotel Rate: $160
Photo Credit: cikaga_jamie
Seventh Most Popular: San Francisco
Of all the destinations on the list, plane tickets to San Francisco have increased the most from the previous year, shooting up by 20% to more than $500, which also makes it the most expensive round-trip ticket on the list. Despite the costs, San Francisco is actually a more popular destination this year than last year, when it ranked ninth on the list overall.
Average Airfare: $504
Average Daily Hotel Rate: $157
Photo Credit: worldsurfer
Sixth Most Popular: New York
Staying in the Big Apple is rarely cheap, but it is at least getting cheaper. Hotel costs are down 4% this year compared with the same time last year.
Average Airfare: $436
Average Daily Hotel Rate: $215
Photo Credit: Getty
Fifth Most Popular: Denver
It didn’t rank among the 10 most popular cities last year, but in this year Denver is among the top five, perhaps helped by the fact that the airfare rates and hotel costs in this city are among the cheapest of any city on the list.
Average Airfare: $385
Average Daily Hotel Rate: $115
Photo Credit: pcxhb
Fourth Most Popular: Los Angeles
Airfare to and from Los Angeles experienced one of the steepest increases on the list: nearly 20% from year to year. But those costs have been partially offset by a significant drop in hotel rates. The average cost of a night’s stay in a hotel dropped by 7% from last year to just more than $100, one of the cheapest on the list.
Average Airfare: $481
Average Daily Hotel Rate: $106
Photo Credit: kevindooley
Third Most Popular: Seattle
The West Coast in general is shaping up to be a popular destination this summer. Though the cost of airfare to cities such as Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco tends to be higher than most of the cities along the East Coast, hotel costs in these metropolitan areas prove to be much more affordable.
Average Airfare: $430
Average Daily Hotel Rate: $132
Photo Credit: dherrera_96
Second Most Popular: Las Vegas
Las Vegas was the most popular summer destination on Orbitz last year, driven in part by incredible deals for flights and lodging as the city struggled to revive its tourism industry in the aftermath of the recession. While the city remains near the top of the list, the rising cost of airfare and hotels may have contributed to its slide to No. 2. Hotel costs in particular are up 7% from the year before, though at $89, the city’s lodging rates are still among the cheapest in the nation.
Average Airfare: $369
Average Daily Hotel Rate: $89
Photo Credit: joanna8555
The Most Popular: Orlando
Orlando shot to the top of the list this year, after Orbitz ranked it as the fourth-most-popular city to travel to in the summer last year. According to Hoyt, the city’s ranking is proof more families plan to travel this summer than in recent years, given that Orlando is particularly popular for theme park attractions such as Disney World. It’s not hard to see why families would be attracted to this particular destination more than others on the list. Though Orlando’s rates have increased modestly from year to year, the city has the cheapest airfare of any on the list and the second-lowest hotel rate.
Average Airfare: $290
Average Daily Hotel Rate: $94
Photo Credit: Allie_Caulfield
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