Summer travel is back!
Expedia released its Summer Travel Forecast, providing key insights to help Americans plan and save on their summer vacations. According to Expedia data, flight searches are up 25% overall for June through August compared to the same time last year, and interest is up triple digits for international destinations across Europe and Asia. In addition, average ticket prices drop $125 from their peak in early July to August.
“This summer, travelers are clearly ready to dust off their passports and embrace jet lag as they set off overseas,” said Melanie Fish, head of Expedia Group brands public relations. “The data shows the sweet spot for saving on summer airfare is right around the corner, but these days you can guarantee you’re getting a great deal by tracking flights on the Expedia app or adding Price Drop Protection to your flight, which automatically refunds you if the price drops after you book.”
Summer Destination Trends
While U.S. travelers are returning in droves to popular destinations including New York and Cancun, the biggest year-over-year increases are for longer-haul destinations including Auckland, Hong Kong, and Osaka. Despite average flight ticket prices sitting higher than last summer, strong demand trends indicate travelers are ready to make the most out of their summer vacations.
Top 5 Domestic
1. New York
2. Los Angeles
5. Las Vegas
Top 5 International
4. Punta Cana
1. Auckland, New Zealand
2. Hong Kong
3. Osaka, Japan
4. Da Nang, Vietnam
5. Hanoi, Vietnam
*Based on Expedia flight demand as of April 1, 2023, for travel from June to August
Since reopening its borders last fall, Japan continues to see incredible interest and is one of the fastest-growing international destinations year-to-date for U.S. travelers. Flight searches for summer are up triple digits compared to the same time last year for Osaka (+592%), Tokyo (+290%), and Kyoto (+265%).
How to Save on Summer Travel
The sweet spot to save on domestic airfare and save around 8% is 21 to 60 days out, while Americans planning summer trips abroad should book as soon as possible for the best rates.
Prices can fluctuate in the lead-up to departure, but with Expedia’s Price Drop Protection travelers can get refunded for the difference if the flight becomes cheaper after they book. Launched earlier this year in the Expedia app, Price Drop Protection is available on most flights for a nominal fee, currently with no annual limits on refunds.
Best & Worst Times to Fly
Least-busy Day: Thursday, Aug. 24
Cheapest Day: Sunday, Aug. 27
Busiest Day: Saturday, July 1
Most Expensive Day: Saturday, July 1
To save on airfare, travel during late August and avoid holiday weekends. Average ticket prices drop an average of $125 compared to the peak in early July. Meanwhile, the July Fourth weekend is currently the busiest and most expensive weekend of the summer for air travel. ATPs for the holiday weekend are 12% higher than average for the month.
Read more tips for saving on flights and start your summer vacation planning here.
Tips for navigating travel disruptions:
- According to Expedia’s 2023 Air Travel Hacks Report, departing before 3 p.m. cuts your chance of flight cancellation in half, so take the early flight.
- Demand is high, and airlines are still operating fewer flights than pre-pandemic. That means full flights are expected this summer, so make sure you arrive at the airport early and give yourself plenty of time to get through security.
- Pack light and take a carry-on. That way, there’s less chance your luggage gets lost in situations of delays or cancellations.
- Check your passport expiration date and make sure it’s valid for a minimum of 6 months past your travel dates.
Tips to save on your summer getaway:
- Price Tracking & Predictions takes the guesswork out of deciding when to book airfare by alerting travelers when flight prices change. Free on the Expedia app, the feature uses decades of proprietary flight-shopping data, AI, and machine learning to compare today’s flight prices with historical price trends to help travelers make an informed decision on the best time to book their chosen route.
- With Price Drop Protection, originally launched in 2017 as Price Match Promise, travelers can get a refund if the price of their flight drops on Expedia after the book. Price Drop Protection is available for most flights for a nominal fee, currently with no annual limit on refunds.
- Book airfare, hotel, and car at the same time on Expedia, otherwise known as bundling, which can instantly unlock hundreds of dollars/an average of $300 or 10% in savings.
- Sign up for loyalty and frequent flier programs, or risk leaving money on the table. Expedia members earn Rewards points for every booking that can be redeemed as dollars off on the next trip.
- Top destinations and fastest-growing destinations based on Expedia flight demand as of April 1, 2023, for travel from June to August 2023.
- Japan search data based on Expedia flight search as of March 20, 2023, for travel from June to August 2023.
- Trending destinations were selected from a list of fastest-growing destinations based on Expedia flight demand for June to August travel.
- Sweet spot booking window based on Expedia flight demand for June to August 2022 travel.
- Best/Worst times to fly based on Expedia flight demand as of April 1, 2023, for travel from June to August 2023.