While warnings about holiday travel being crowded seem to come out every year, 2023 could be a standout.
Nearly half the country plans to travel between Thanksgiving and the middle of January, according to the 2023 Deloitte Holiday Travel Survey. They’ll be traveling less frequently, though, meaning the concentration of people taking a trip around Thanksgiving and the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is going to be higher.
More than one-third of travelers (37%) will take a flight at least once this holiday seasons. Roads, though, might be a bit less congested, as 53% of American travelers are planning road trips, compared to 64% last year.
“The travel industry is reaching its cruising altitude this holiday season,” said Mike Daher, vice chair, Deloitte LLP and U.S. transportation, hospitality and services non-attest leader in a statement. “Spending time with family and friends is even more important during the holidays, and Americans are embracing this tradition as they pack away many of the concerns that impacted plans last year.”
The big beneficiary of this travel boom could be hotels. Some 56% of holiday travelers say they play to stay at a hotel at some point in their journey this year, compared to just 35% last year. The average traveler expects to spend $2,725 on their trip, Deloitte reports.
That steep bill is the reason the number of people traveling isn’t higher. Of the people surveyed who won’t be hitting the road, 38% say finances are the top deterrent. COVID fears have largely disappeared, with only 11% citing health worries as the reason they’re staying home.
The continued surge in remote work is also fueling the travel boom. One-third of the 5,281 people surveyed said they planned to work on their longest trip this holiday season. Those workers tend to travel more frequently and take longer trips, says Deloitte.