September 22, 2021

Will Beach Getaways or City Trips Prevail This Fall: Tripadvisor Reveals Americans Divided on Travel Plans

2021 Fall Travel Index Highlights Trends, In-Demand Destinations & Activities

Following a summer where stir crazy Americans finally fulfilled their travel plans in droves, with 71% getting adventurous and visiting new destinations for the first time, it appears the American wanderlust will continue into the fall. Tripadvisor today released its seasonal Fall Travel Index, revealing trends and the most in-demand popular destinations for the upcoming sweater-weather months.

More than half (54%) of Americans report planning to travel this fall (between September 1 and November 30). This is down 13% from the chronically-busiest summer travel season, but notably up 4% from this past spring, and 10% higher than the number of people globally traveling this fall. Most people with travel plans aren't settling for just one getaway; 63% plan to take two or more trips this fall, still determined to make up for pandemic-lost travel time. And long weekend trips (between two and five days) will be most common.

Where are they going?

Throughout the pandemic, travelers preferred outdoor and nature destinations, avoiding crowded tourist spots. Now, the focus is gradually shifting back towards cities. In fact, big cities make up many of the top 10 destinations Americans are visiting this fall. Fear not, beachcombers refusing to give up your time in the sun, half of the most popular fall getaways still involve sunbathing:

  1. Las Vegas, NV
  2. New York City, NY
  3. Orlando, FL
  4. Myrtle Beach, SC
  5. Ocean City, MD
  6. Honolulu, HI
  7. Nashville, TN
  8. Chicago, IL
  9. Miami Beach, FL
  10. Virginia Beach, VA
While the majority of Americans (84%) are staying in the U.S. for their fall trips, 16% are venturing out of the country. The most popular international destinations for Americans this fall are still relatively close to home: Cancun, Cabo San Lucas, and Playa del Carmen, Mexico, respectively.

"Although most of us aren't quite ready to vacation across the world, those who are traveling this fall are more willing to splurge," said Val Anthony, lead research analyst at Tripadvisor. "The average price for trips booked by Americans this fall is $776, compared to $588 globally, meaning Americans are spending significantly more on travel than the rest of the world. This could be a result of more family trips: 'Family hotels' are the most popular hotel style, while pools and 'family rooms' are among the most popular hotel amenities being searched on Tripadvisor in the U.S. right now."

What activities are Americans falling for?

The most popular experience types (bookable tours, tickets, and activities) this fall are historical tours, sightseeing cruises, cultural tours, and ghost & vampire tours - perfect for the more moderate autumn weather and scenic foliage. Nearly two-thirds (60%) of U.S. travelers plan to book a tour or activity for their fall trip, rising to a massive 80% of millennials. With activities like haunted ghost tours and whiskey tastings trending, it's no wonder young people are flocking to book experiences!

Here are the top 10 most booked experiences this fall:

  1. History & Hauntings of Salem Guided Walking Tour - Salem, MA
  2. Nashville to Jack Daniel's Distillery Bus Tour with Whiskey Tastings - Nashville, TN
  3. Tour of North Shore (70%) and Sightseeing (30%) - Honolulu, HI
  4. General Jackson Showboat Lunch or Dinner Cruise in Nashville - Nashville, TN
  5. Ultimate Circle Island Adventure with Waimea Waterfall - Honolulu, HI
  6. The Salem Night Tour - Salem, MA
  7. Premium Narrated Bus Tour of Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park (3.5 Hours) - Bar Harbor, ME
  8. Asheville Historic Downtown Guided Electric Bike Tour with Scenic Views - Asheville, NC
  9. Salt Lake City Guided Bus Tour - Salt Lake City, UT
  10. Scenic Tour of Bryce Canyon - Bryce, UT
The trending destinations for experiences this fall (places with the highest volume of experiences booked) are Nashville, Tennessee; Honolulu, Hawaii and Salem, Massachusetts, respectively. The small Massachusetts town known for the infamous Salem Witch Trials welcomes visitors from near and far as soon as the leaves start changing colors, chock-full of tours and activities for lovers of all things spooky, including the most booked experience in the entire country this fall. Additionally, the most popular fall hotel check-in date in the U.S. is October 31 - perhaps Americans are traveling this Halloween to have their own haunted and chilling adventures.

Other fall finds:

  1. Gen Z Americans are the most eager to travel this fall, with 62% planning to do so. This is followed by 60% of Millennials, 59% of Gen X, and just 40% of Boomers.
  2. Lahaina and Honolulu, Hawaii are the top two fastest growing destinations compared to fall 2020.
  3. Cleanliness remains a top priority, as Tripadvisor's Travel Safe filter is the most commonly used on-site.
  4. Most fall trips will be between 2-5 nights long, with 53% of travelers reporting to take a trip of that duration. 17% will stay only one night, 22% will stay 6-10 nights, and 7% will stay more than 10 nights.

Copyright 2021 Tripadvisor, Inc. All rights reserved. From

To view all articles, check out the Internet Travel Monitor Archive