Mt. Fuji and Tokyo skyline, Japan.
Jackyenjoyphotography | Moment | Getty Images
Americans are poised to travel overseas in a big way in 2023.
Households are continuing to unleash two or three years’ worth of pent-up demand as Covid-19 fears wane and the last vestiges of pandemic-era border restrictions have eased.
The U.S. dollar also remains relatively strong versus currencies like the euro, hybrid work yields more flexibility for big trips and some airlines have added new long-haul routes to overseas destinations, according to travel experts.
“The travel industry is just going gangbusters,” said Erin Florio, executive editor of Condé Nast Traveler.
Why travel abroad is poised ‘for a big comeback’
D3sign | Moment | Getty Images
Thirty-one percent of Americans are more interested in international than domestic travel, according to a recent poll by tourism market research firm Destination Analysts. That was a six-point increase from February and a year-to-date high, according to the survey, published in November.
Meanwhile, 62% of 2023 flight searches in the first week of December were for international destinations, up from 55% the same time last year, according to a recent Hopper report. It cited international travel among the top three trends for 2023, saying it’s poised “for a big comeback.”
Searches on Kayak for flights abroad are up 1.3% versus a year ago, according to company data as of Dec. 18. Those for domestic flights were down 13%.
In 2022, the share of international trips for which Americans bought travel insurance was on par with 2019 levels, the first time that had occurred in the pandemic era, according to data from online travel insurance marketplace Squaremouth. The trend has continued for trips booked for 2023.
American travelers largely stayed within U.S. borders in 2020 and 2021 amid health concerns and overseas Covid-related restrictions such as testing requirements, mandatory quarantines or outright bans on foreign tourists. Visits to U.S. national parks boomed and RV rentals soared as outdoor vacations offered the dual benefits of travel and relative virus safety.
Now, fear of the virus has waned. In September, the share of travelers unconcerned about contracting Covid surpassed those who are concerned, the first time that had happened in the pandemic era, according to Destination Analysts.
‘There’s a lot of pent-up travel demand’
Tower Bridge, London.
Karl Hendon | Moment | Getty Images
2022 was also a year for more big trips abroad — but a spike in virus cases toward the end of 2021 and into the new year, fueled by the highly contagious omicron variant, somewhat dampened enthusiasm, experts said.
“There’s a lot of pent-up travel demand,” said Jessica Griscavage, a travel advisor and CEO of Runway Travel. “We missed travel for two to three years.”
This so-called “revenge travel” trend — a term recently coined to describe burgeoning, pent-up wanderlust — coincides with looser health rules abroad and at home.
The U.S. dropped a Covid testing requirement for inbound air travelers from abroad in June. That rule, which also applied to U.S. citizens, mandated a negative test within a day of flying.
More from Personal Finance:
What to think about …….