NATIONAL REPORT—This year has changed everyone’s plans dramatically, but it has also changed the way we travel. In-destination travel provider Welcome Pickups has analyzed traveler behavior by comparing the six-month period from March 1 to Sept. 30 to the exact same time period a year ago, to see how differently Americans travel now vs. 2019.
From March 1 to Sept. 30, the majority of travelers have been staying in destinations for more than seven days at a time; this now accounts for 25% of all travelers. This same period last year saw just 7% of travelers taking long breaks. When comparing the travel behavior for the same period of 2019, it was more common for U.S. travelers to stay in a destination for just one (21%), two (22%) or three (22%) days, now this proportion has changed to just 18%, 16% and 13%, respectively.
About 35% of those who traveled the six-month period last year had done so with their family. This has since dropped to 20% of all travelers. The same trend has been observed when it comes to traveling with friends. Only 8% of travelers have traveled with their friends; this time last year, it was at 12%.
There has been a slight decrease in the amount of Americans traveling with their significant others, which was 37% of travelers in 2019 and 28% in 2020. However, the largest shift has been in solo travel, which now accounts for 44% of U.S. travelers, compared to the same time period last year where only 17% were traveling alone.
Americans haven’t seemed to shy away from visiting Europe this year, though there has been a drop in the share of visits to the top destinations. Barcelona is the most visited destination with 15% of travelers visiting; last year it was 21% of all travelers. It is a similar case for Athens as last year 21% of travelers visited and this year it is at 14%. Rome has left the list of top destinations for 2020 and a non-European destination has joined the list in its place, as 7% of travelers have visited Buenos Aires in Argentina.
Enjoying the sea and sun have always been a priority for Americans abroad, however this year it’s far more important than it has been in the past. For the same six-month period last year, 15% of travelers chose sea and sun as the main interest on their holiday, this year it has increased to 23% of all travelers.
Exploring the neighborhoods, sampling the local cuisine and visiting sights outside of the city still remain as top interests for both this year and last year, however interest in visiting museums has declined year over year from 15% in 2019 to 7% in 2020.