Skift Take

By sheer volume, Mexico is the preferred international destination for American spring breakers.

Mexico was the most booked destination for spring break travel by Americans, according to an analysis of flight data by ForwardKeys.

The high level of bookings comes even after the the U.S. State Department released a message in February advising American to “exercise increased caution” when visiting Mexico during spring break. The message received attention in news outlets like USA Today and the New York Times.

“Despite recent negative messages from the U.S. State Department, travel to Mexico remains robust, with volumes ranking in the first place,” said ForwardKeys Head of Research Luis Millan. Total bookings from American travelers for flights to Mexico are up 14% for March.

Hostels in Mexico were the most booked in the Central America region, said a spokesperson for Hostelworld. The highest levels of bookings for hostels were in Mexico City, Cancun, Puerto Escondido, Tulum and Oaxaca.

Short-term rentals in Mexico’s traditional spring break hot spots Cancun, Cabo San Lucas and Playa del Carmen are also pacing 30% to 50% higher for the last week of March compared to last year, said Braham Gallagher, an economist for AirDNA.

Some cities in Mexico are also seeing a surge in short-term rental bookings. Mazatlan has had a 375% jump in bookings for the last week of March. Monterrey, an industrial city, has surprisingly risen 89%, said Gallagher.

Americans Hang Out in Costa Rica During Spring Break

There’s also a heightened American interest in Costa Rica.  Flight bookings for Costa Rica are up 29% from last year, according to ForwardKeys.

Short-term rental bookings for the destination are up 99.7% for the last week of March, according to AirDNA. Bookings for hostel stays in Costa Rica are also trending positively for March.

Over the past few years, Costa Rica has emerged as a popular leisure and adventure destination. Since the pandemic, more tourists have devoted entire trips to Costa Rica instead of pairing it with other destinations. The Costa Rican government launched a digital nomad visa directed toward tourists in 2022.

More Americans Go Abroad During Spring Break

This spring break, Americans have had a heightened interest in travel internationally. Total bookings by Americans for international trips rose 9% while domestic trips stayed nearly the same, said Millan. 

The share of domestic spring break by Americans has dropped two percentage points from a year ago. Last summer, domestic travel also took a hit as Americans traveled abroad.


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Tags: mexico, spring break, tourism

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