International Summer Travel Outlook 2020

As parts of the world begin the process of re-opening after months of closure, some Americans are starting to look toward their next international trip, with new trends emerging.

Hayley Berg - Jun. 15, 2020

Summary - Outlook for International Travel

As parts of the world begin the process of re-opening after months of closure, some Americans are starting to look toward their next international trip, with new trends emerging.

Travelers booking international getaways are planning their trips as much as 4 weeks further in advance than last year. The average international trip is now booked 11-12 weeks in advance of departure compared to about 7 weeks in advance in 2019. Current demand for international travel from the US remains low overall, however, as a larger proportion of travelers focus on planning domestic trips first.

The good news for those hoping to fly farther afield in the near-term is that prices for international travel remain low, with more than 20% off 2019 prices available for flights during peak summer months. If travelers prefer to wait, prices for departures between August - December are 11% to 18% lower than this time last year, and prices for January - February 2021 are 10% to 12% lower compared to 2020 levels.

As we look ahead to the future of international travel, flexibility is also emerging as a key trend in addition to advance planning. In a Hopper survey from May, 36% of travelers said that the ability to change dates after booking will be the most important consideration the next time they book travel, and 27% cited the ability to cancel with minimal penalty. 

While exactly when to travel to re-opened countries is a personal decision, there will be great deals and increased flexibility when the time comes.

International Travel Demand

Demand from the United States for international destinations has dropped 55% compared to 2019, with less than 40% of search demand for destinations outside of the US.

Demand For International Travel
Proportion of search demand from the US for international destinations in May 2020 compared to the same time in 2019.

Those travelers who are beginning to plan international getaways are doing so further in advance than usual. In May 2019, the average international trip was booked 7-8 weeks in advance of departure, while in May of this year international bookings were made an average of 11-12 weeks in advance of departure. Travelers continue to book longer international trips, averaging ~8 days for an international getaway compared to ~4 days for a domestic trip.

International Travel Pricing

For travelers planning to head out of the country this year, expect to see another year of record low prices. Average round trip international airfare will cost travelers $720, down 17% compared to 2019. Prices for trips throughout the remainder of 2020 are low, with the best deals for departures at the end of summer, and into the fall shoulder season.

Good Deal International Airfare (Round Trip)
Average good deal round trip airfare price as of May 2020 for international flights departing each month remaining in 2020.

Trending International Destinations

These destinations top Hopper’s ranking of trending destinations for 2020 travel. Destinations in the Caribbean and Antilles, such as Puerto Rico and Aruba, top Hopper’s trending destinations ranking. Major European cities such as London, Barcelona and Rome top the ranking for destinations trending down this year. 

Trending International Destinations
Destinations seeing a higher proportion of total international demand based on watches set on Hopper in Mat 2020 compared to 2019, and destinations seeing a lower proportion of international demand compared to 2019.

International Destinations Open for Tourism Summer 2020

These top tourist destinations have indicated that they will be open for business during Summer 2020. Border open dates and rules for tourists on arrival, or during their stay, vary by destination. Be sure to check the regulations in any destination city or country before planning a visit.

International Tourist Open for Tourism Summer 2020
International Tourist Open for Tourism Summer 2020

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