U.S. summer travel spending is projected to reach nearly $83 billion this year as Americans see lower gas prices and airfares than a year ago.
This summer spending projection for online hotel and flight bookings is 5.5 percent higher than the $78.5 billion Americans spent on travel between Memorial Day and Labor Day in 2015, according to Adobe’s digital index for upcoming U.S. summer travel plans. Adobe analyzed more than 15 billion visits to online travel agencies and brand.com sites since January 2014 for the spending projection and also surveyed 1,000 U.S. travelers online between March 11 to 14.
The national average for a gallon of gas is around $2.11, about 20 cents fewer than April 2015 and between 40 to 50 cents cheaper on average than all of summer 2015. That, combined with a variety of current events such as recent terror attacks and disease outbreaks, point to why 82% of survey respondents said a domestic trip will be their primary summer vacation this year–which is eight percentage points higher than last year. Compared to 2015, a smaller percentage of travelers said an international vacation will be their primary trip this summer (18 percent in 2016 versus 20 percent in 2015).
Though overall spending is projected to be higher, respondents said they plan to spend 20 percent less on their trips this summer. Some 81 percent of respondents also perceive hotel rates and airfares as more expensive or about the same as last year (see Chart 3 for how prices have changed).
Chart 2: Domestic travel to another region has garnered the most search interest on online travel agencies for this summer. Outbound travel from the U.S. is also projected to be slightly lower than 2015, due to a variety of factors including terrorism and disease fears.
Chart 3: For travelers that searched for summer travel last month, airfares were down 6.6 percent year-over-year for domestic flights and down 1.6 percent for international flights. Domestic hotel rates were up nearly three percent year-over-year last month. According to Adobe’s analysis, low-cost airlines were the biggest factor in driving down domestic airfares.
Source: Adobe Digital Index