So far, much of the 2023 consumer holiday trends highlighted by CivicScience have focused on holiday shopping, including intent, priorities, and even preferred payment methods. Another key piece of the overall holiday puzzle being monitored in CivicScience’s ongoing tracking? Holiday travel plans. Here’s how consumer travel plans look to be shaping up for the coming holiday season:

CivicScience data from the past two weeks show travel intent is on par with last year – 30% of U.S. adults plan to travel for the holidays this year, mirroring the polling data from this time last year, which also stood at 30% (among those with definite plans). 

One particularly noteworthy trend emerging however is that travel plans among regular holiday travelers are up this year. Those who typically travel for the holiday season are eight percentage points more likely to maintain their plans for this upcoming holiday season (61% to 53% respectively). 

On the other hand, data show people who don’t typically travel for the holidays are less likely to do so this year, as of this writing.

Taking a step further into travel plans, the latest data find that 2-in-5 holiday travelers intend to stay with friends or family. Roughly one-third will be staying at a hotel, motel, or bed and breakfast. Rental properties like those from Airbnb are a far less common choice (13%).

Tis the season for a vacation?

While the holidays are often considered a time to be home with family, CivicScience data show 24% are thinking of spending their holiday time away at a vacation destination – 14% will travel within the US, and 10% have an international destination in mind (among those with definite plans). Those percentages jump significantly among younger adults, with as much as 54% of Gen Z adults planning a holiday vacation this year. 

It’s not the destination, its the journey.

Where consumers plan to stay is one thing, but that’s only half of the travel experience. How are Americans planning to get to their various destinations? The majority (62%) will be doing so by car. Just shy of one-third indicate they will be flying, while a significantly smaller percentage will rely on either trains or buses.

Close to half of car travelers will be staying with loved ones, while 37% of flyers intend to do the same. Train riders are fairly evenly split among the different accommodation options, while those utilizing a bus are far more likely to stay at a hotel/motel or bed and breakfast. 

Three more quick insights about planned holiday travelers:

  • Thirty-two percent of holiday travelers plan to travel with their pets, (up from 29% in 2021), and 37% will board them or hire someone to watch them. 
  • Roughly 7-in-10 of those with student loan debt who plan to travel this year are ‘somewhat concerned’ about paying their student loans, 10 points higher than those with student loan debt who don’t plan to travel.
  • Holiday travelers are nearly twice as likely to report they’ll be taking on any level of debt for holiday gifts this year compared to those not planning to travel.

Want to stay a step ahead of the 2023 holiday season with more in-depth consumer insights with CivicScience’s always-on tracking? Connect with us.