State of Travel 2024

A deep-dive analysis into the landscape of travel right now—from trending prices to trending places to how people are thinking about travel in 2024.

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Every year since 2020, we’ve surveyed thousands of Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights) members to find out how their year of travel went and what they expect from the year to come. We also look at our own data, including the deals we’ve sent and the average prices we’ve found, to make predictions on what people can expect to pay for the next 12 months.

One thing we've learned: Expect the unexpected.

The world is dynamic and fast-changing, and so is travel.

This year, we found:

The “revenge travel” trend of 2022 and 2023 shows no signs of slowing, with 54% of respondents saying they’ll take even more international trips in 2024 than they did in 2023.

While inflation and rising travel costs are felt, they aren’t stopping people’s travel plans, with 57% of people who expect to pay more for travel this year expecting that because they’re traveling more. 

People are still all about the deals, with 62% saying they chose a destination because they found a good price on a flight and nearly half of respondents completely open to destinations and dates for their travels.

Arrow
Arrow

But there’s a whole lot more where that came from. Let’s dive in.

Chapter 1

The biggest travel boom we’ve ever seen?

01 2023 was a great year for travel.

If there’s one thing 2020 and 2021 taught us, it’s to never take our freedom of movement for granted. Americans are lucky to have a powerful passport that allows access to more than 180 countries without a visa (and even when a visa is required, it’s generally pretty easy to obtain). In 2020 and well into 2021, the power of that passport was useless against Covid and we mostly stayed home to keep ourselves and people around the world safe.

By 2022, “revenge travel” was in full swing, with people making up lost time—and that trend continued in 2023 as many people took their first international trips since before March 2020.

TSA trends highlight this, with the agency recording its busiest day ever on June 30, 2023.

Nearly half of all respondents (45%, up from 42% last year) took more trips in 2023 than they initially expected, with only 20% (down from 25%) taking fewer trips than planned and 32% taking as many trips as they expected.

Expectations aside, only 17% said they traveled as much as they wanted. Of the 83% who would have liked to travel more, roughly one-third cited lack of money, and one-third cited lack of time as reasons they couldn’t travel more. Only 1% cited Covid as a concern—down from 15% last year.

2023 travel compared to expectations

I took more trips than I initially expected in 2023
45%
I took the number of trips I expected in 2023
32%
I took fewer trips than I initially expected in 2023
20%
I did not travel in 2023
3%

Barriers to travel in 2023

Lack of time off from work or school
30%
Lack of money
28%
I traveled as much as I wanted
17%
Family and other commitments
16%
Concerns about Covid-19
1%

02 And travel may be even bigger in 2024.

More than half (54%) of people plan to take more international trips in 2024 than they did last year, and more than one-third (35%) plan to take more domestic trips. The vast majority of respondents plan to take at least two domestic and two international trips in 2024.

Plans for 2024 compared to 2023

International Trips
54
%

I’ll travel more in 2024 than 2023

14
%

I’ll travel less in 2024 than in 2023

32
%

I’ll travel the same amount in 2024 as 2023

Domestic Trips
35
%

I’ll travel more in 2024 than 2023

18
%

I’ll travel less in 2024 than in 2023

47
%

I’ll travel the same amount in 2024 as 2023

Trips planned for 2024

International Trips
0
5%
1
32%
2
32%
3
17%
4
7%
5+
7%
Domestic Trips
0
8%
1
16%
2
27%
3
19%
4
13%
5+
17%
Chapter 2

Fewer barriers, more opportunities for travel.

01 Inflation isn’t a major concern when it comes to travel costs.

More than half (56%) of respondents plan to spend more on international travel this year than last, and nearly one-third (32%) expect to increase their spending on domestic travel. But the reason isn’t what you might expect. While rising costs for housing and other goods are irrefutable, only 10% of people expect to spend more on travel in the coming year due to inflation.

Of those who plan to spend more, the vast majority say it's because they’ll take more trips internationally (57%) and domestically (70%).

So what’s a typical trip cost for Going members? Roughly one-third of people plan to spend a total of $2,500-$5,000 on international travel and a total of $1,000-$2,500 on domestic travel for the year (with most people expecting to take 1-2 trips of each type).

As with last year, the two main things people expect will keep them from traveling in 2024 are lack of time (29%) and lack of money (25%). Perhaps that large number of people citing lack of time explains why, when we asked if people would rather get a $5,000 annual raise or two more weeks of vacation from their job, 56% said they’d rather have the extra time off.

Money spent on travel in 2024 compared to 2023

International Trips
56
%

I’ll spend more in 2024 than 2023

27
%

I’ll spend less in 2024 than in 2023

17
%

I’ll spend the same amount in 2024 as 2023

Domestic Trips
32
%

I’ll spend more in 2024 than 2023

23
%

I’ll spend less in 2024 than in 2023

45
%

I’ll spend the same amount in 2024 as 2023

Money allocated for travel for 2024

International Trips
6%

< $1,000

12%

$1,001 - $2,500

27%

$2,501 - $5,000

10%

$5,001 - $7,500

14%

$7,501 - $10,000

31%

$10,000+

6%

< $1,000

12%

$1,001 - $2,500

27%

$2,501 - $5,000

10%

$5,001 - $7,500

14%

$7,501 - $10,000

31%

$10,000+

Domestic Trips
21%

< $1,000

31%

$1,001 - $2,500

26%

$2,501 - $5,000

12%

$5,001 - $7,500

6%

$7,501 - $10,000

4%

$10,000+

21%

< $1,000

31%

$1,001 - $2,500

26%

$2,501 - $5,000

12%

$5,001 - $7,500

6%

$7,501 - $10,000

4%

$10,000+

Barriers to travel in 2024

Lack of time off from work or school
29%
Lack of money
25%
Family and other commitments
20%
I expect to travel as much as I want
12%
Concerns about Covid-19
10%

02 Travel remains extremely important to people.

Travel is still critical or highly important to 82% of respondents. People were also willing to make some big sacrifices rather than giving up travel again. More than half of respondents would give up pizza, Netflix, or social media so they could keep traveling. Only 2% said they’d rather give up traveling than any of those other things.

Travel is critical for my happiness

44%

Travel is highly important for my happiness

42%

Travel is somewhat important for my happiness

12%

Travel is irrelevant for my happiness

2%

Things people would give up before they stopped traveling

Note: Percentages total more than 100 because respondents could select multiple options.

Netflix

63%

Pizza

60%

Social media

60%

Dating

18%

Note: Percentages total more than 100 because respondents could select multiple options.

Travel is so important that 80% of people expect to use all their vacation days to travel (and for 49% of people, that’s at least 21 days).

Remote work is also helping people to travel more. Nearly two-thirds of people (65%) said they can work remotely, with 54% planning to work from a destination in 2024. The ability to work remotely will allow about 25% of people to take more trips in 2024.

Vacation days

Up to 10 days
6%
11-15 days
19%
16-20 days
26%
21-30 days
28%
Unlimited
21%

Remote work policies affect on travel plans

I will take more trips because I can work remotely
25%
I will take longer trips because I can work remotely
16%
I will take more trips and the trips will be longer because I can work remotely
17%
I will travel the same amount as I would if I didn’t work remotely
42%
Chapter 3

Great deals are still abundant.

01 Despite rising fares, we’re still in a Golden Age of Cheap Flights.

In our very first report, we declared that we are—and had been for a few years—in a Golden Age of Cheap Flights. For example, in 1948, a roundtrip ticket from NYC to Rome cost $848—the equivalent of nearly $10,000 today (up from $9,000 last year). But Going regularly finds our members flights (on full-service airlines) to Rome from all over the US for under $400 roundtrip.

When we look at the average price of all the deals we find for Going members and slice it by destination region, we see some regions, like the Caribbean, have gotten cheaper over the last few years, dropping from an average roundtrip fare of $548 in 2018 to $289 this year.

In other regions, fares have increased slightly. For example, due to a lack of competition (few budget airlines, fewer flights, and routes), flights to Asia have increased from an average of $516 in 2018 to $808 this year—though we still sent members plenty of fares in the $600 range.

But overall, we’re still seeing prices in the same range, give or take $50-$100, as we did in 2018 and 2019. And, perhaps most importantly, we’ve actually seen some “lowest price ever” fares on several routes, including our cheapest fares ever from Houston to Guatemala City ($111 roundtrip), NYC to Paris ($230 roundtrip), San Francisco to Santiago ($130 roundtrip), and Houston to London ($252 roundtrip).

Average price of deals found by Going

2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Asia $516 $543 $568 $590 $775 $808
Europe $484 $483 $550 $492 $505 $531
Latin America $338 $375 $398 $336 $326 $384
Oceania $680 $661 $720 $801 $830 $865
North America $548 $383 $298 $291 $203 $289
Africa $548 $602 $602 $630 $634 $619
Caribbean $548 $312 $304 $264 $301 $338
Middle East $548 $602 $611 $614 $587 $707
Domestic US  $177 $189 $196 $195

02 Cheaper premium class tickets are also more common.

In 2021 and 2022, business travel was way down, and airlines slashed fares on the big seats up front—in many cases lowering them into the range of what most people (those who aren’t members of Going, anyway) pay for economy class. We’re talking $1,800 in business class or $800 in premium economy to Europe.

Now business travel has begun to resume, with 65% of respondents saying they will travel for work by plane this year, and 34% of those people saying they expect to travel more for work this year than they did in 2023 (54% said they’d travel the same amount). The majority (75%) of respondents said they expect to take 1-2 business trips in 2024.

With the increase in business travel, we’re seeing tickets in premium classes begin to creep back up. However, even when business class prices aren’t quite as low as they were in 2021 and 2022, fares found by Going still save an average of $2,000 per international trip in business class vs typical fares.

We even found an amazing Mistake Fare from NYC, Newark, or San Francisco to Mumbai in Air India’s first class for $2,400 roundtrip—a fare that typically costs about $10,000.

Average price of deals found by Going

Premium Economy Business & First Class
Normal Price Going Average Normal Price Going Average
2022 2023 2022 2023
Asia $2,500+ $1,236 $1,884 $4,000+ $3,010 $3,213
Europe $1,500+ $1,164 $1,237 $4,500+ $2,723 $2,701
Latin America $1,500 $623 $1,100 $1,200+ $802 $1,104
Oceania $3,000 $1,833 $1,738 $4,500+ $4,094 $3,394
North America $2,000+ $1,487 $1,882 $4,500+ $2,663 $2,520
Africa $2,000+ $1,234 $1,556 $4,000+ $2,517 $2,860
Caribbean $1,200+ $536 $987
Middle East $1,000+ $898 $800

Note: Premium economy is not always offered on routes within North America and the Caribbean. Domestic business class reflects a range between short-haul and transcontinental flights.

03 Award flights are available—but you may have to act fast!

With rising travel demand post-Covid, the conventional wisdom has been you can no longer find a good deal on a flight with your points. Why would airlines give away seats for nearly free when people are willing to pay? 

The data from our points deals in 2023 tells another story: There are still plenty of award seats available where you can squeeze out a good points redemption. That’s especially true for economy seats. We may not be in a “Golden Age” of points, but there are plenty of economy seats available to redeem with your points. 

But you may have to act fast when you see a deal. The window to book award seats is usually tight.

Going with Points deals we sent in 2023

From US airports Points (roundtrip) Estimated redemption value* Estimated cash price (roundtrip) Cash savings
US to New Zealand
economy
44,000 $660 $1,500 $840
US to Tokyo
economy
44,000 $660 $1,200 $540
US to Spain
business
68,000 $1,020 $4,000 $2,980
PNW to Bahamas
economy
15,000 $225 $700 $475
East Coast to Vietnam
business
110,000 $1,650 $5,000 $3,350

Note: We estimated the redemption value of a points ticket at 1.5 cents per point. This actual value may vary based on the airline's frequent flyer program and your departing airport.

Chapter 4

Where should we go?

01 Europe and the US coasts top travelers’ lists.

Once again, the coastal states are among the top places travelers want to go in the US, with the Great Plains and Midwest less interesting to travelers (maybe they haven’t heard about how cool Detroit and Tulsa are?).

California, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, New York, Florida, Colorado, Maine, Arizona, and Montana are among the states most people want to visit. Mississippi, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Arkansas, and Delaware were all among those at the bottom of the list (we still love you!).

West
52%
Northeast
49%
Pacific Northwest
49%
Southeast
37%
Southwest
36%
Midwest
25%
Great Plains
10%

Note: Percentages total more than 100 because respondents could select multiple places.

When it comes to the most coveted destinations in the world, Europe wins in a landslide, with Asia, the Caribbean, and the US not-so-closely trailing.  Need some inspo on where to go? Check out our list of 24 amazing spots to visit in 2024.

1. Europe
83%
2. Asia
32%
3. Caribbean
26%
4. US
25%
5. Mexico
23%
6. South America
23%
7. Australia and New Zealand
20%
8. Canada
19%
9. Central America
19%
10. Africa
13%
11. Pacific Islands
12%
12. Middle East
6%

Note: Percentages total more than 100 because respondents could select multiple places.

Within those destinations, people are still gravitating toward the major cities, small towns, and beaches. In the US, national parks are also popular spots.

International Trips
Domestic Trips
Large cities
International
86%
Domestic
80%
Beaches
International
58%
Domestic
45%
Small towns
International
59%
Domestic
51%
National parks and forests
International
44%
Domestic
60%
Rural areas
International
50%
Domestic
35%

Note: Percentages total more than 100 because respondents could select multiple places.

02 Deals often dictate destination, and flexibility is key.

We’ve been preaching the gospel of “planning your trips in reverse” (choosing where to go based on where flights are cheap) for years, so we’re happy to see travelers embracing this mentality.

Nearly two-thirds (62%) of respondents said they choose destinations because they found a good deal, and more than half (56%) also choose based on a recommendation from a friend or family member.

I found a good deal on a flight

62%

A friend or family member recommended the place

56%

The place had a special event or festival I wanted to attend

29%

I saw a photo or video of the place on social media

27%

I read an article about the place in a travel magazine

22%

Note: Percentages total more than 100 because respondents could select multiple places.

Nearly half of respondents said they are very flexible about when and where to go when planning their trips, with equal flexibility for international and domestic trips. However, people are slightly more likely to have a specific date and destination locked in when it comes to domestic trips vs international ones.

International Trips
Domestic Trips
I am generally open to both destinations and dates
International
46%
Domestic
48%
I am generally open to dates but I know where I want to go
International
20%
Domestic
21%
I am generally open to destinations but must travel around specific dates
International
20%
Domestic
12%
I generally have chosen both specific dates and a specific destination
International
14%
Domestic
19%

When people are traveling

Shoulder season reigns for international travel, with more than one-quarter of people planning to travel in May, Sept, or Oct. Domestic travel is pretty steady all year, with small spikes in March, May, June, and July. December and January are the months when the fewest people will be traveling internationally; for domestic travel, this slower season extends from November to February.

International Trips
Domestic Trips
Jan
16%
International
23%
Domestic
Feb
20%
International
24%
Domestic
Mar
25%
International
27%
Domestic
Apr
24%
International
26%
Domestic
May
27%
International
27%
Domestic
Jun
23%
International
28%
Domestic
Jul
18%
International
27%
Domestic
Aug
16%
International
25%
Domestic
Sep
27%
International
26%
Domestic
Oct
26%
International
25%
Nov
13%
International
24%
Domestic
Dec
12%
International
24%
Domestic
Chapter 5

Travelers are putting their points to work.

01 Most points users are going for the value of economy.

Since we launched Going with Points in July 2023, members have told us how they’ve been putting their points to work, with 86% of respondents reporting that they do earn and redeem points or miles.

Of those, 60% of respondents use those points to book flights 1-2 times per year. But economy seats reigned for redemptions. While those incredible business class experiences are great for the ‘gram, most people just want to get where they are going for free. More than half of respondents said they use their points for economy flights. Only 6% book business class.

What people use their points for

Economy flights
58%
Hotels
11%
Premium economy flights
10%
Flight upgrades
7%
Business class flights
6%
Cash back
4%
Haven’t used them yet
3%

Others shared that they don’t have credit cards that earn points or don’t know how to use them (16%).

We’ve got your back: For our Premium and Elite members who receive Going with Points deals, we’ll walk you through how to transfer your credit card points to airline partners to get the maximum bang for your buck.

02 Among travel credit cards, Chase takes the lead.

Two-thirds of respondents said that they have a Chase credit card in their wallet. Nearly half have an American Express or Capital One card. (If you’re looking for a new card to add to your collection, we have opinions on the best travel credit cards available now.)

Cards people have

Chase
65%
American Express
45%
Capital One
40%
Citi
29%
Bank of America
23%
Wells Fargo
12%
Bilt
2%

Of those who don’t use points, 25% said it’s because they don’t have enough points to redeem. If that sounds like you, don’t lose hope! We have guides on how to earn more points with everyday spending and welcome bonuses.

Chapter 6

Traveler preferences and pet peeves.

01 What travelers love: Window seats, early flights, economy class, and hotels.

It comes as little surprise that the vast majority of people prefer window and aisle seats, with 53% preferring the window and 46% preferring the aisle (though it is slightly more surprising that 1% prefer the middle seat).

More than half of people (54%) say they prefer early-morning flights. Sounds like a bunch of smart cookies took this survey, as early-morning flights are least likely to be delayed.

When asked which class they prefer to fly, 45% of people said economy, and 36% said basic economy, and to that, we say you’re all in the right place! We send out tons of both economy and basic economy deals—and for every basic economy deal, we always let you know how you can upgrade.

As for accommodations, a whopping 83% of people prefer the comfort of hotels, followed by 64% for a home or apartment rental and 24% for a resort (bougie). On the other end of the spectrum, only 5% and 9% prefer couch-surfing and hostels, respectively.

Seat preference

Aisle
46%
Middle
1%
Window
53%

Time of flight

Early-morning flight
54%
Mid-day flight
26%
Late-afternoon flight
7%
Evening/overnight flight
13%

Flight class

Basic economy
36%
Economy
45%
Premium economy
15%
Business/first class
4%

Accommodations

Hotel
83%
Resort
24%
Home or apartment rental
64%
Campervan/camping
11%
Hostel
9%
Couchsurfing
5%

Note: Percentages total more than 100 because respondents could select multiple places.

02 The environmental impacts of flying are a concern, but it won’t stop people from traveling.

When asked whether they were concerned about the environmental effects of flying, 41% of people said they were. Of those people, 3 out of 4 people said they are doing something about it, with 36% of people reducing their carbon footprint in other areas of their lives.

03 Must-haves and never-dos.

Can’t leave home without

Can't leave home without

Leave home without a smartphone? Not an option for 98% of people. Having something to do on the go also tends to be a priority for people, with 63% not leaving home without headphones, 30% not leaving without some sort of reading entertainment, and 20% not leaving without a camera. Apparently relatively few people prioritize traveling in comfort, with only 15% of people saying a travel pillow or eye mask is required.

Smartphone

98%

Headphones

63%

Kindle or iPad

30%

Camera

20%

Travel pillow

15%

Eye mask

15%

What travelers hate

Covid may not be keeping people from traveling anymore, but if another passenger is openly sick with a cough or cold symptoms—and not wearing a mask!—27% of people say that’s the worst offense you can commit in air travel right now. Not using headphones to listen to music, messing with the seat in front of you, or reclining at inopportune times? You might also get *the look* from your neighbor. Sorry, we don’t make the rules.

15%

Not using headphones to 
listen to music

6%

Taking their shoes off

6%

Hogging the middle armrest

11%

Reclining 
without checking or during meals

7%

Standing up 
as soon as the flight lands

6%

Crowding the boarding area before boarding

27%

Having a cough
or cold and not wearing a mask

15%

Kicking or 
pulling on the back of your seat

4%

Wearing strong perfume, cologne, or lotion

3%

Talking when you clearly don’t want to engage

How many pairs of underwear do you pack for a seven-day trip if you won’t have access to a washing machine?

And now, the Great Underwear Debate of 2024. Overwhelmingly, the majority of people (51%) said the appropriate amount of underwear for a seven-day trip is 8–10 pairs. For those of you who start with seven…and then sprinkle a few more in…because you just never know…we see you. (To the 13% of you who answered less than 7 or more than 15, call us. We have questions.)

< 7 pairs
11%
7 pairs
26%
8-10 pairs
51%
11-14 pairs
10%
15+ pairs
2%

Summary

It’s been a tumultuous few years for travelers, but it seems like things are—finally, and thankfully in most cases—returning to what we’d previously considered normal. Rather than worrying about things like Covid restrictions and infection rates, travelers are mostly worried about more mundane things like limited time and money keeping them from travel (and we can at least help with the latter!).

As more people have taken their first post-2020 international trip, fares within North America and to Europe, South America, and Africa have normalized, and as more transpacific routes open up, we expect fares to Asia, Australia, and New Zealand to do the same. And while we’re seeing fewer amazing business class deals than we were in 2021 and 2022, thanks to increasing business travel, we are still seeing some great fares—and we’ve been able to expand the number of business class deals we find by searching for points and miles deals, too.

With more travelers than ever expecting to increase their travels this year, we’re forecasting an amazing year for travel, and we’ll be there to help ensure travelers never overpay for flights.

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