Last updated on 19 December 2021
With the New Year approaching, Priceline analyzed how Americans traveled throughout 2021 for its annual travel recap, and released a forecast on what to expect for early 2022. Reflecting on the state of travel now and over the past year in 2021, one major theme emerges: the western and southeastern U.S. reigned supreme across all types of travel—but that’s not all.
Americans didn’t shy away from traveling over the long summer holiday weekends, as the busiest travel days of the year were the Sunday before Fourth of July and the Friday before Labor Day. When it came to deals, travelers could visit major cities for significantly less than pre-pandemic rates—saving up to 27 percent!—with San Jose, San Francisco, New York, Washington, DC, and Seattle having the biggest percentage drops in hotel prices. Las Vegas held strong, remaining the number one destination for both hotel and flight over the last two years, and four hours southwest, Los Angeles regained its spot in the top three for most popular car rentals.
A Preview of 2022
Looking ahead to early 2022, the biggest trend so far is that travel—and travel prices—are continuing to heat up. For the first quarter of 2022, the average daily cost of hotels is up 18 percent over the same time last year, and average flight tickets are up 32 percent. As prices rise, Priceline has identified destinations across the country where travelers can explore, make memories and find great deals.
“As both inflation and the returning demand for leisure travel drive up prices, travelers are looking for products that help them identify and book vacations at affordable rates,” said Brett Keller, Chief Executive Officer. “Priceline was created to do exactly that. We continue to negotiate great rates and roll out new deals and features, such as our VIP Loyalty Program, so our customers can book the trip they want at a price they can afford.”
Where Are The Deals?
- Southeast beach destinations offer some of the best airfares, with Myrtle Beach, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Tampa all landing within the top 10 most affordable, offering average round-trip fares less than $285.
- Half of the top 10 most affordable destinations for hotels are in the west (Laughlin, NV.; Page, AZ.; Buena Park, CA.; Albuquerque, and Reno, specifically). Across these five cities, the average daily hotel rate comes in under $110 per night.
Where Are People Going?
- While major entertainment meccas Las Vegas, Orlando, and New York hold the top three spots, Chicago, New Orleans, and Nashville join the top 10 list for most popular hotel destinations.
Destinations To Watch
- Cape Canaveral: Home to the Kennedy Space Center and other space-themed attractions, Florida’s Space Coast is up-and-coming and has a popular port for cruises bound for the Caribbean.
- Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg: Serving as gateways to the scenic Great Smoky Mountains, both destinations light up in early 2022. Pigeon Forge will host the “Smoky Mountain Winterfest” with five million holiday lights through February 14th, and travelers can experience the famous 200-foot tunnel of lights at “Lights Over Gatlinburg” at Gatlinburg Skylift Park through January 29th.
- Memphis: Tennessee’s great outdoors aren’t the state’s only emerging destinations for 2022. Cultural hotspot Memphis is hosting fun events like a crawfish festival and the Beale Street Music Festival at the city’s fairgrounds this spring.