Sometimes, the only way to make the coldest days of winter bearable is to plan ahead for brighter horizons. Summer may still be several months away, but it’s never too early to map out a year’s worth of travel – especially given how unpredictable airline pricing can be.

CivicScience wanted to check the temperature of American travelers and see what the summer and year ahead might bring. How high is the interest level for trips and vacations right now? How far in advance are Americans planning their trips? How far are they planning to travel this year? Let’s get into all these insights and more.

A slim plurality of U.S. adults rate themselves ‘very likely’ (34%) to travel this year – but nearly two-thirds of adults (62%) are at least ‘somewhat likely’ to take trips or vacations. Income remains a significant factor in determining travel intent; those earning $100,000+ are more than twice as likely as those earning under $50,000 to be ‘very likely’ to take trips this year (53% compared to 24%).

Summer travelers are fairly split on booking flight and lodging reservations – nearly one-third already have begun doing this, with another 29% planning to in the next two months. A slight plurality (39%) prefer to wait until closer to their trips to book. U.S. travelers aged 55+ are both the most likely to have already booked summer accommodations and the most likely to be waiting closer to their trip for booking. Gen Z travelers are the most likely (42%) to book flight and lodging reservations in the next two months.

Among Americans planning to vacation this year, long drives (over four hours) within the U.S. (29%) and domestic flights (28%) are neck-and-neck as the preferred methods of travel. But nearly one-quarter of 2023 travelers are taking an international flight this year – which exceeds the percentage of adults who are maxing out with a short drive (19%).

Compared to last year’s summer travel data from CivicScience, a smaller percentage of U.S. travelers seek ‘relaxation’ (42% compared to 47%) as their top priority this year, but it still remains the most sought-after type of travel. Instead, ‘sightseeing’ (up to 19%) and ‘adventure’ (up to 15%) see a slight boost this year – which could indicate more ambitious trips on the horizon for U.S. travelers.

It remains to be seen how economic headwinds will shape travel this year. Some analysts predict high levels of travel, if a more cost-effective approach to vacationing. The most recent Penta-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index from last week saw sliding confidence in three of its primary indicators, including a drop in personal finance. The ebbs and flows will be worth monitoring in the coming weeks, as even more travelers book their reservations.

Want to see an even more comprehensive glance at how your consumers plan to travel this year? Keep an eye out for our upcoming travel industry report. And if you want other specific insights into your business in the meantime, let’s chat.