SAINT PETERSBURG, Fla – Tripadvisor, the world’s largest travel platform, today released findings from its Thanksgiving Travel Index for 2020, providing insights into where Americans are traveling for the holiday. The big takeaway is that despite COVID-19 concerns, more than half – 56 percent – of Americans still intend to travel this Thanksgiving.
Recent Tripadvisor site data shows Key Largo, Fla., Sedona, Ariz., Key West, Fla. and Scottsdale, Ariz. have increased in popularity since last year’s holiday and are recovering from the pandemic much faster than other U.S. travel destinations. Alternatively, central cities, such as New York City, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Nashville have decreased in popularity for Thanksgiving year-over-year, and they are not recovering as quickly.
By the Numbers: 2020 Thanksgiving Travel Trends
- Travel is down, but 56 percent of Americans are still traveling this Thanksgiving (down 14 percent year-over-year).
- Road trips vs. flying remains popular: Over three-fourths (76%) will drive to their destination, and only 11 percent of Americans will fly to their Thanksgiving table.
- Socially distant stays: 22 percent are staying in a hotel or vacation rental to practice social distancing from friends and family.
- When to watch the roads: Day-of and day-after
- The busiest departure day will be Thanksgiving Day (November 26), when 26 percent of travelers will hit the road.
- Many travelers who are not leaving day-of are extending their trip, with 43 percent traveling the weekend before Thanksgiving (Friday, November 20 – Sunday, November 22).
- The busiest return day will be Friday, November 27, with 31 percent of travelers heading home the day after Thanksgiving.
“Despite COVID-19 concerns, the majority of Americans are still traveling this Thanksgiving. The way in which consumers travel, however, will look very different from past years,” said Christopher Hsi, Consumer Market Research Lead Analyst for Tripadvisor. “This year, we can expect shorter trips with smaller groups of people for more intimate, close knit gatherings. Many are taking day trips (24%) or spending one night at their destination. Americans are also continuing to avoid big cities, instead opting for warm weather and beach destinations in southern states. We do see, however, that Boomers are less likely to travel this year compared to last (29% vs. 51%).”
|Top (and bottom) Thanksgiving Travel Destinations for 2020,based on year-over-year hotel interest|
|Fastest Recovering Destinations||Slowest Recovering Destinations|
|1. Key Largo, Fla. (+71% YOY)||1. New York City (-80% YOY)|
|2. Sedona, Ariz. (+50% YOY)||2. New Orleans, La. (-75% YOY)|
|3. Key West, Fla. (+36% YOY)||3. Los Angeles, Calif. (-62% YOY)|
|4. Scottsdale, Ariz. (+28% YOY)||4. Nashville, Tenn. (-61% YOY)|
|5. Naples, Fla. (-2% YOY)||5. Boston, Mass. (-59% YOY)|
|6. Clearwater, Fla. (-8% YOY)||6. Chicago, Ill. (-56% YOY)|
|7. Palm Springs, Calif. (-13% YOY)||7. Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (-51% YOY)|
|8. Myrtle Beach, S.C. (-14% YOY)||8. Orlando, Fla. (-50% YOY)|
|9. Charleston, S.C. (-17% YOY)||9. Las Vegas, Nev. (-44% YOY)|
|10. St. Pete Beach, Fla. (-21% YOY)||10. San Antonio, Texas (-44% YOY)|
- Thanksgiving travel destinations based on Tripadvisor platform data for domestic travel to popular destinations within the U.S. around the Thanksgiving holiday (11/19/20-11/30/20), during September and October 2020.
- Thanksgiving travel trends based on a Tripadvisor Traveler Sentiment Survey of U.S. respondents from October 16-20, 2020.