Scientific studies in 2023 reviewing recent tourism data found that staycations are ‘the new normal’ for Americans. As people look for ways to save money and explore destinations closer to home, we wanted to find out whether people prefer a local staycation over an international vacation.
We surveyed 2,069 adults in the U.S. to analyze staycation plans for 2024 as well as understand what differs between those taking time off at home compared to those leaving the U.S. for their vacation.
- 44.4% of people go on domestic staycations in the U.S. more often than international vacations, with 87.7% of this group having been on a staycation this year.
- By 2033, the global staycation market size is projected to reach $758.1 million (USD), a CAGR of 8% over the next ten years.
- Staycationers think that the food, people, and weather are better in the U.S. than abroad, but they think they see better culture when they take an international trip.
- The beach is the most common destination for people taking a staycation in the U.S., with 47.4% choosing this as a favorite.
- People who usually take staycations spend an average of $928.11 per person on a staycation.
- New York is the most popular location for a staycation with 30.7% of vacationing Americans saying they have visited The Big Apple.
- The Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida is the most visited landmark for Americans traveling domestically.
- Niagara Falls is the most popular U.S. bucket list destination for Americans.
Around half of Americans prefer staycations to vacations
We asked people whether they typically go on staycations within the U.S., or on international vacations in other countries. The result was fairly split, with 44.4% saying they mostly go on staycations within the U.S., while 55.6% saying they prefer to vacation in a different country.
2023 data shows that roughly 56% of Americans have a passport, indicating that most people who purchase one are using it, while it may be true that many don’t see the need for one.
Of those who said they most often go on staycations, 87.7% said they had been on a staycation at some point in 2023. Over three-quarters (78.9%) said they are considering a staycation in winter 2023 or early 2024, while 83.1% said they would be planning a staycation in spring/summer 2024, showing that staycations are expected to sustain 2023 levels.
When it comes to people who prefer international vacations, 96% said they had been on a vacation to another country this year.
How many Americans take staycations?
One survey found that 67% of Americans are either planning to take a staycation or have already taken one. When applying this to the total population of the U.S., this adds up to around 173 million people.
Do Americans think staycations are better than vacations?
Interestingly, one-third (33.3%) of people who most commonly take staycations said they thought an international vacation was better than a staycation, with cost likely the main reason stopping people from exploring outside of the States.
Are staycations more affordable than vacations?
The majority of people who regularly take staycations (87.1%) said they would consider a staycation to be more affordable than a vacation abroad, while 6.4% said the prices were about the same, and another 6.4% thought staycations were more expensive.
On the other hand, 80.5% of those who vacation abroad more frequently see international vacations as more affordable. This could suggest that both groups are more inclined to choose the type of vacation that they consider the most affordable and perceptions of value will differ.
Average spend for staycationers
Of those who most often take a staycation, the average amount they spend per person is $928.11. Around a fifth (21.8%) of this group said they spend between $551 and $700 per person on a trip and 3.5% say they spend less than $100 per person, while 7.4% say they spend over $2,000 per person for a staycation.
Most commonly visited states for staycations
The states that people visit most often on a staycation are California with 24.4% of people taking a domestic trip here, and Florida (24.1%), with New York in third place at 14.4%.
Unpopular states for domestic trips are North Dakota and Nebraska (both 1.9%).
Beach trips are most popular for staycations
Staycationers most commonly head to the beach for a domestic trip, with 47.4% choosing the beach as one of their top destinations. This was followed by national parks at 41%, and city breaks at 31.4%.
Other trips people like to take in the U.S. include visiting theme parks (30.2%), cabin breaks (29.6%), and camping and RVs (25.2%).
What people consider most important on a staycation
We wanted to find out which things people feel are most important to them when planning a staycation in the U.S.
Relaxation was one of the most important factors of a staycation for almost half (48.8%) of people. Next on the list was family time (44.9%), followed by fun and entertainment (42%).
Which aspects of a vacation are better at home than abroad?
People who prefer staycations think that most aspects of a vacation are better at home in the U.S. with these people saying they thought the food, people, and weather were all better at home than abroad. However, over half (52.3%) thought that the culture was better when they visited an international country.
|Better at home (U.S.)||Better abroad (International)|
Are staycations expected to grow in popularity?
The global staycation market is expected to hit $363.6 million (USD) by the end of 2023, and is projected to reach $758.1 million (USD) by 2033. This is a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8%, demonstrating that the popularity of staycations around the world is set to keep growing.
Visiting local tourist attractions in the U.S.
Most of the people we surveyed (96.8%) said they had visited at least one of the major tourist attractions in their own state. We wanted to find out which destinations and iconic landmarks were most popular with Americans.
New York is the most popular U.S. staycation destination
30.7% of people surveyed said that had visited New York for a staycation. Next on the list is Las Vegas, with almost a quarter (22.4%) of people having made a visit to the famous casino capital, followed by Orlando, Florida (20%), popular for the Disney World Resort and Universal Studios.
The most commonly visited iconic landmark in New York is Central Park in Manhattan which 26.5% of people say they have visited. Just behind this is Times Square (26%), and the third most popular New York attraction is the Statue of Liberty, visited by 24.6% of people.
Niagara Falls is the top bucket list destination for Americans
A quarter (24.9%) of people said that visiting Niagara Falls is on their bucket list of U.S. landmarks they’d like to visit; exactly the same amount (24.9%) of respondents said they have never visited Niagara Falls. Coming in second was the Grand Canyon which is on 23.6% of people’s bucket lists, followed by Yellowstone National Park (23.3%)
What are the most visited landmarks in the U.S.?
We asked our respondents which landmarks they have visited in the top 10 most visited U.S. states. The most popular landmark was Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, which has been visited by 37.5% of people, while Disneyland, California had 29.1% of our respondents as visitors.
Other surveys show that roughly 87% of Americans have been to a theme park, and of that subgroup, 74% had been to Disney, the true number of unique Disneygoers would be impossible to analyze, however, it’s clear many are using their paid time off to head to Disney theme parks.
Next on the list of popular tourist attractions in the U.S. was the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada, visited by 31.9% of people, and in third was the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California, visited by 30.3% of people.
|Most popular tourist attractions from the top 10 most visited states|
|Tourist attractions||State||Percentage of people who have visited|
|Las Vegas Strip||Nevada||29.2%|
|Golden Gate Bridge||California||28.5%|
|Washington Monument||Washington DC||27.7%|
|Times Square||New York||26%|
|The White House||Washington DC||26.7%|
|Central Park||New York||26.5%|
We surveyed 2,069 Americans on 10/23/2023, asking questions about staycations and international vacations to find out people’s views on both, and some of the most commonly visited destinations in the U.S.
The demographics of the survey respondents were as follows:
- Female – 51.1%
- Male – 48.4%
- Non-binary – 0.4%
- Transgender – 0.1%
- 18-24 – 4.3%
- 25-34 – 29.9%
- 35-44 – 39.7%
- 45-54 – 18.6%
- 54-65 – 5.3%
- 65+ – 2.2%
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