Summer 2020 Travel Outlook

With parts of the U.S. beginning to re-open ahead of the upcoming Memorial Day holiday, Americans are starting to dream up future travel plans.

Hayley Berg - May. 20, 2020

Summary - Outlook for Summer 2020

With parts of the U.S. beginning to re-open ahead of the upcoming Memorial Day holiday, Americans are starting to dream up future travel plans. Based on a recent survey by Hopper, more than 40% of Americans say they plan to travel by air this summer, with 25% planning to book their travel in the next 30 days.

For those hoping to get away this summer, travelers can expect to find deals up to 50% off and, in general, can look forward to more flexible booking policies than the last time they purchased a trip. On average, domestic round trip airfare for summer travel is down more than 34% compared to last year, averaging $189 per ticket. International round trip airfare is down more than 22%, averaging $690 per ticket. 

As we look ahead to the future of travel, flexibility and closer-to-home vacations are emerging as key trends. In a recent Hopper survey, 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. And while summer is typically when we see Americans take farther-flung getaways, this year destinations closer to home in the US and Caribbean top Hopper’s list of trending summer 2020 destinations.

While exactly when Americans feel comfortable booking travel again is a personal decision, there will be great deals and increased flexibility when the time comes.

Good Deal Airfare for Summer

  • Domestic airfare for summer 2020 is 34% lower than for the same period in 2019, with round trip airfare down to $189 per ticket. 

  • International airfare for summer 2020 is 22% lower than for the same period in 2019, with round trip airfare down to $690 per ticket. 

Summer 2020 Good Deal Airfare

Figure: Average Good Deal airfare price for round trip Summer 2020 travel (departure dates between June 1, 2020 and September 7th, 2020)

Covid-19 Impact on Summer Travel

  • Flexibility: As covid-19 (and the uncertainty surrounding it) has spread around the globe, the aviation industry has seen an unprecedented drop in demand for air travel. In a survey by Hopper, 36% of respondents 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. In response, and to encourage travelers to continue booking travel, many airlines have dropped prices, removed change fees, and in some cases, removed cancellation penalties. Flexibility is key for travelers interested in taking off this summer, and airlines will continue to meet these needs as demand returns. 

  • Staying Closer to Home: In a recent survey by Hopper, more than 40% of Americans indicated they plan to travel by air this summer, with 25% planning to book their travel in the next 30 days. Americans still plan to travel this summer when they feel safe to do so, but where they travel will be different than in summers before. Summertime is historically when travelers will plan longer, bucket list type vacations to Europe, Asia and many other far away destinations. This year, destinations closer to home in the US and Caribbean top Hopper’s list of trending summer 2020 destinations. Hawaii, Florida, and destinations in Puerto Rico, Mexico and the Dominican Republic top Hopper’s list of most searched for destinations for travel this summer. 

  • Fewer Options: Though carriers are maintaining service across the US and on many international routes, there has been a significant reduction in scheduled air travel. Some airlines have suspended service on routes or reduced the number of daily services from or into some airports given low demand. As a result, travelers should expect that on some routes there will be fewer options when planning travel, whether that means the number of airlines to choose from, departure times available, or the availability of direct flights compared to flights with stops. 

  • For Some, Higher Prices: Though overall prices are on average 34% lower than in 2019, some routes across the US could see higher prices on average than before the pandemic began. For example, between Atlanta and Denver prices are 25% higher than in 2019 following JetBlue and Spirit’s suspension of service until September. Spirit and JetBlue offer low base fares compared to other major carriers on the route, and a suspension of service and these fares drives up the average price available on the route. As carriers work to restructure their schedules and partner with the DOT to determine which routes can be changed, it’s likely that there will be some routes where average prices will rise compared to previous years given the fewer options available to customers.

In-Demand Summer Destinations

Travelers looking to stay in the US are searching for warm, beach vacations for summer 2020. Destinations in Hawaii, Florida, and even parts of southern California and Arizona top Hopper’s ranking for most searched vacation spots. Travelers ready to head out of the US for summer vacation are headed to the Caribbean with destinations in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Aruba topping Hopper’s ranking of most searched for international destinations for summer 2020.

Most Watched Summer Destinations

Table: Destinations with the most watches set by Hopper users for Summer 2020 travel (departure dates between June 1, 2020 and September 7th, 2020)

Good Deal Destinations on Hopper for Summer

For travelers who are planning to take a trip this summer, check out amazing deals to these destinations.

Great Domestic Deals Summer 2020

Table: Average Good Deal airfare price for round trip Summer 2020 travel (departure dates between June 1, 2020 and September 7th, 2020)

Sources

The data utilized for this study comes from Hopper's real-time "shadow traffic" containing the results of consumer airfare searches. Hopper collects, from several Global Distribution System partners, 25 to 30 billion airfare price quotes every day from searches happening all across the web. The prices reflected in this analysis are Hopper’s “good deal price” which represents what a typical leisure traveler should expect to pay, measured using a “tenth percentile.” Survey results are from a Hopper sponsored survey of Americans who have traveled in the last 6 months, fielded the week of May 11th, 2020. 

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