Christmas and New Year’s Bookings Sleigh 2021 Holiday Travel Numbers — TripIt Blog

The year 2021 has been full of ups and downs, and ups and downs when it comes to travel. We’ve gone from a standstill to a comeback stronger than ever; From closed to the world to reopened borders. From the unknown to the scientific discoveries that have made traveling safer again. And we’re happy to say that the coolest time of the year is here, and for travel, that description feels even more correct given that we’re seeing some of the strongest numbers we’ve seen this year.

TripIt analyzed accommodation, car rental and flight reservations made by TripIt users in the USA for their Christmas and New Year trip and compared the results to similar booking periods in 2020 and 2019.

Our data shows that year-end travel will be three times – and in one case, four times – the volume of last year, and will slowly approach pre-pandemic levels. Here are more findings and tips on how to end the 2021 travel season strong.

The current percentage of flight bookings compared to previous years

2021 flights
(everyone)
2021 flights
(Sweetened)
2021 flights
(international)
2021 car rental 2021 residence 2021 vacation rentals
Compared to 2020 320% 304% 373% 404% 271% 182%
Compared to 2019 51% 53% 47% 76% 61% 56%

Air travel is rising – especially in warmer climates

While you can expect all airports to be busy (more than 3 times the volume we saw last year), there are some that will be busier than others:

  1. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  2. San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  3. Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
  4. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
  5. John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
  6. Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)
  7. Denver International Airport (DEN)
  8. Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
  9. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
  10. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DWF)

Expect to see most travelers start their flights on Thursday (23/12) and Wednesday (12/22) before Christmas (Saturday, 25/12), as well as on Sunday (26/12) and Monday (12/27) before New Year’s Eve (Friday 12/31).

Where do the travelers go? Similar to what we saw over Thanksgiving, major metro lines are back on top, and travelers are eager to soak up some vitamin D when we see flights to California, Florida, and Hawaii take up 39% of all flights.

Destination rankings and ranking changes compared to 2021

Ranking 2021 city, state Ranking 2020 Ranking change (2020 to 2021) 2019 ترتيب ranking Ranking change (2019 to 2021)
1 Orlando, Florida 2 1 1 0
2 Las Vegas, Nevada 6 4 4 2
3 Denver, Colorado 1 -2 3 0
4 Phoenix, Arizona 3 -1 7 3
5 New York, New York 20 15 5 0
6 Cancun 4 -2 10 4
7 Los Angeles, California 9 2 2 -5
8 Miami, FL 19 11 13 5
9 Fort Lauderdale, Florida 8 -1 6 -3
10 Honolulu, hello 12 2 9 -1

Sticks increase car rental

Car rental continues to be the transportation darling of 2021, with bookings reaching more than 4 times the volume last year and the mode of transportation closest to pre-pandemic levels. The busiest day to pick up cars from a rental car will be the day after Christmas (12/26) followed by the Tuesday before Christmas (12/21), again we see Florida, California and Hawaii taking the bulk of bookings (43%) .

Car rental destination rankings and ranking changes compared to 2021

Ranking 2021 city, state Ranking 2020 Ranking change (2020 to 2021) 2019 ترتيب ranking Ranking change (2019 to 2021)
1 Denver, Colorado 1 0 1 0
2 Orlando, Florida 2 0 2 0
3 Phoenix, Arizona 5 2 6 3
4 Kahului, hello 3 -1 3 -1
5 Honolulu, hello 9 4 5 0
6 Salt Lake City, Utah 8 2 9 3
7 Los Angeles, California 14 7 4 -3
8 Miami, FL 12 4 11 3
9 Las Vegas, Nevada 13 4 8 -1
10 Fort Myers, Florida 4 -6 14 4

Accommodation and vacation rentals

Accommodation bookings outpace the return of flight bookings and are closer to 2019 levels at 61% in 2021. The subset of vacation rentals is not far behind 57% of 2019 bookings.

Most travelers will stay in their hotel (57%) or rent (37%) for 5-7 days; 34% will extend their stay in their home (for holidays) for a total of 8-13 days. And while stays of 14 days or more were popular this time last year, hotel stays of two weeks and longer periods (0.5%) and vacation rentals (2%) have declined, although they are still above 2019 levels (0.2%). for hotels and 1.8%) for vacation rental). One of the biggest shifts we’ve seen has been the number of people staying in hotels for a day or two, which is down 88% from pre-pandemic volume (51% in 2019) to today (just 6% in 2021).

Percentage of accommodation reservations by length of stay

1-2 days 3-4 days 5-7 days 8-13 days 14+ days
2021 6% 35% 57% 1.5% .5%
2020 8% 26% 62% 3% 1.2%
2019 51% 31% 17% .8% .2%

Percentage of vacation rentals by length of stay

1-2 days 3-4 days 5-7 days 8-13 days 14+ days
2021 4% 23% 37% 34% 2%
2020 4% 24% 40% 26% 5%
2019 3% 25% 46% 24% 1.8%

Accommodation destination ranking and ranking change compared to 2021

Ranking 2021 city, state Ranking 2020 Ranking change (2020 to 2021) 2019 ترتيب ranking Ranking change (2019 to 2021)
1 Las Vegas, Nevada 2 1 2 1
2 New York, New York 3 1 1 -1
3 Orlando, Florida 1 -2 3 0
4 Honolulu, hello 4 0 5 1
5 San Diego, California 8 3 4 -1
6 Los Angeles, California 14 8 6 0
7 Miami, FL 9 2 9 2
8 San Francisco, California 19 11 7 -1
9 Chicago, IL 18 9 10 1
10 Scottsdale, Arizona 12 2 22 12

Vacation Rental Destination Rankings and Rank Changes Compared to 2021

Ranking 2021 city, state Ranking 2020 Ranking change (2020 to 2021) 2019 ترتيب ranking Ranking change (2019 to 2021)
1 Kissimmee, Florida 5 4 9 8
2 Park City, Utah 1 -1 7 5
3 San Diego, California 6 3 2 -1
4 Honolulu, hello 8 4 6 2
5 Breckenridge, Colorado 3 -2 10 5
6 Kihei, hello 4 -2 8 2
7 Sedona, Arizona 14 7 28 21
8 Palm Springs, California 7 -1 13 5
9 New Orleans, Los Angeles 18 9 4 -5
10 Miami, FL 15 5 11 1

Year end travel tips

From Jane Moyes, Senior Director of Product, TripIt of Concor

  • Make a list, check it twice. COVID-19 has added things to our already long list before you travel, but a trip can easily be ruined if you forget your vaccine ticket, negative COVID-19 test, face covering or other essential documents required for your trip. Know what you need, and have it on hand and on your mobile device, when possible. Be sure to add your travel plans to your TripIt itinerary so you can see COVID-19 travel advisories by destination and airline, find medical facilities (if you need them) nearby, and locate local health and medical outcomes with results neighborhood safety.
  • Plan to leave early. Then add 30 minutes and leave until earlier. Lines and crowding will be the norm, not the exception, in the holiday travel season. We’re seeing 3 or 4 times more volumes than last year, so give yourself some space and, at worst, get a few extra minutes to sit down rather than stress. Consider signing up for TSA PreCheck, CLEAR, or both to help speed up your airport security experience. With a TripIt Pro subscription, you can try CLEAR in a free four-month trial, plus you’ll get a discounted annual price of $149.
  • Refine your safety information while driving in winter. Rental car demand with 2021 bookings continues to grow at 404% for 2020 and 76% for 2019. For those heading to northern states or the mountains, be sure to check out our best winter driving practices. Make sure the car you rent has 4WD or 4WD, and plenty of windshield wiper fluid. Travelers passing through mountain passes should also have snow chains, as they are required during snowstorms. Check with your rental car provider to find out how to get the right equipment for your winter driving. Cat litter or litter are always good supplies to keep in the trunk of your car in case you get stuck in the snow.
  • Pack an outing for the airport. Based on our data and what we’ve seen over Thanksgiving, airports will be overcrowded — especially on Thursday and Wednesday before Christmas, and Sunday and Monday before New Year’s Eve. The influx of travelers means not only longer queues at security, but also more difficulty getting into restaurants for a quick meal or enough time for a snack to go. To avoid hunger, pack more snacks than usual. Sandwiches, cheeseburgers, steaks, or takeaways like salads are good options, and likely more affordable than airport purchases. Just be sure to avoid liquids (such as a salad dressing) more than 3.4 ounces. Expect long queues and adjusted hours for restaurants at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), San Francisco International Airport (SFO), Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), and John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), which will be the five busiest airports .
  • Track Rudolph and your journey. Winter travel always comes with the risk of delays and cancellations due to the weather. Monitor your flight with alerts via TripIt Pro, or by checking directly with your airline. Keep in mind that even in clear weather, airlines can still experience delays and cancellations due to staffing issues, technical issues, or other unforeseen circumstances, so don’t let clear skies stop you from being vigilant.
  • Consider contactless check-in. Accommodation bookings are recovering quickly, with 2021 booking levels at 61% from 2019 and 271% from 2020. While Las Vegas, Nevada, New York, NY, Orlando, Florida, Honolulu, HI, and San Diego, CA are the top five places to stay Winter vacation destinations, you can expect crowds at many popular destinations. Find out if your accommodation destination offers online check-in, including virtual room key access. Not only does this help you avoid queuing at the check-in counter, it also helps you maintain an extra social distance.
  • Your inner Santa channel. You will need all the patience, as the patience of Santa listens to hundreds of little kids asking for gifts, so get ready and smile. Everyone will do their best, but travel is always a bit stressful – and with coronavirus and crowds, there can be hurdles. Spread cheer when possible.

methodology: I researched return flight, accommodation, and car rental reservations in the United States made between November 15, 2020 and November 15, 2021 for travel during the Christmas – New Year holidays (Wed Dec 22, 2021 – Mon Jan 3, 2022) of American origin, and periods Bonus booking in 2020 and 2019. TripIt booking data is provided by users and is not specific to the booking provider.

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