This article originally appeared in MediaPost. 

After an explosive post-COVID comeback, domestic leisure growth decelerated through the back half of 2023 as consumer spend slowed amid tighter credit conditions. It looked like consumers might have finally filled their “revenge travel” quota.

However, consumers increasingly see travel as a right rather than a luxury, and Americans are ready to hit the road, the skies, and open seas again this summer. Ninety percent of Americans plan to travel this year, with 85% intending to venture out of state. Internationally, the U.S. has been running a trade deficit and 38% are considering international destinations per IPEX Travel.

Vacationers may still be paying off their last plane ticket, but they’re ready to hop on another one.

Airline prices were significantly outpacing inflation in the beginning of last year, but this summer planning season sees that cooling a bit.  BLS reported airline ticket prices dropping 7.1% year over year in March.  The International Air Transport Association (IATA) projects that global air passenger traffic will reach 88% of pre-pandemic levels in 2024, with domestic travel leading the way.

But consumers will have to shell out for baggage fees and other extras: the IATA also forecasts record airline revenues of $964 billion, up 7.6% year-over-year, and a 10% increase in net profits to $25.7 billion.

Not all plane tickets are created equal.

There is a growing gap between the haves and the have-nots in the travel market, as premium customers splurge on international flights and extra legroom, while lower-income consumers cut back on travel spending. Delta and United, for example, reported strong growth in revenues from their premium cabins in Q4 2023, while Spirit and Frontier had to slash fares to fill seats. This divergence reflects the priority all Americans put on travel and the airline’s strides in perfecting pricing models that capture the whole market.

Steamy hot spots are losing their sizzle.

Consumers are also exploring “cool-cations” and heading to colder climes, out of curiosity as well as to avoid scorching heat or other weather events. Norway and Iceland have seen an increasing number of visitors from the U.S. recently. Iglu Cruise says it saw demand for Arctic destinations increase 235% in 2023 compared to 2022. That said, domestically the top places Americans are looking to travel in 2024 are the old standbys: Florida, California, New York, and Nevada.

Advertise the price per person

Whom you travel with can define your experience. Sometimes, nobody makes the cut.  Younger travelers seeking more independence, adventure, and self-discovery are no strangers to solo trips, but for the first-time older consumers are starting to explore going it alone.

According to AMEX Travel, 76% of millennials and Gen Z are planning on a solo trip this year.  Allainz shows this trend infiltrating older consumers, with 31% of 35- to 54-year-olds and 17% of 55+ stating they plan to take a trip solo. Solo travelers tend to spend more on experiences, such as cultural tours, local cuisine, and wellness activities, than on accommodation and transportation.

Another post-pandemic trend that’s here to stay is the pay-cation, or the combination of work and leisure in a vacation destination. Thanks to the widespread adoption of remote work, more people can work from anywhere they have a reliable internet connection.

According to a survey by, 30% of U.S. travelers plan to work remotely from a vacation spot in 2024, up from 18% in 2023.  And again, young people are driving this travel trend. While nearly a third of Americans plan to “pay-cation” in 2024, the figure jumps to 43% of travelers aged 18-24.   allowing travel in shoulder seasons or extending the length of stay.

More good news for travel marketers: there is a price point and a package for everyone (especially when many are traveling solo.) Travel marketers offering more personalization and value to consumers, no matter how niche, should post stronger returns this summer.