Holiday travel will see an uptick in 2023

Airports will be busier than usual this holiday season. Getty Images

While warnings about vacation trip being crowded seems to come out every year, 2023 could be a standout.

Almost half of the country plans to travel between Thanksgiving and mid-January, according to 2023 Deloitte Vacation trip Survey. They will travel less frequently, however, which means the concentration of people making a trip around Thanksgiving and the week between Christmas and New Year’s will be higher.

More than a third of travelers (37%) take a flight at least once this holiday season. The roads, however, could be a little less congested, as 53% of American travelers plan road trips, compared to 64% last year.

“The travel industry is reaching its cruising altitude this holiday season,” said Mike Daher, vice president, Deloitte LLP and the U.S. transportation, hospitality and services industry leader in a statement. “Spending time with family and friends is even more important during the holidays, and Americans are embracing this tradition while pushing aside many of the worries that impacted plans last year.”

The big beneficiary of this travel boom could be hotels. About 56% of vacation travelers say they will stay in a hotel at some point during their trip 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 that the number of people traveling is not higher. Of the people surveyed who won’t be on the road, 38% say finances are the number one deterrent. Fears of COVID have largely disappeared, with only 11% citing health concerns as the reason for staying home.

The continued rise of remote work is also fueling the travel boom. A third of the 5,281 people surveyed said they plan to commute to work longer this holiday season. Those workers tend to travel more frequently and make longer trips, says Deloitte.

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