Survey: 87% of people prefer traveling domestically over going abroad in 2022

Published Date: August 25, 2022

Why do people travel? A family at an airport with their luggage in tow has answered the question for themselves.
Many people, across age groups, mention travel as a top priority and desire when asked about their preferred activities. This led us to wonder, why do people travel, and do those motivations change over time? We surveyed 1,000 Americans from every adult generation to find the answers. We rounded out our survey results with 25 travel facts to get a fuller understanding of people’s habits, which revealed some surprising discoveries.Key findings:
  • More than half of travelers aged 65 years or older prioritize trips to visit family or friends.
  • Around1 in 4 travelers under 30 years of age make international travel a high priority.
  • 44% of travelers under 30 and 37% of people 65 or older prioritize traveling out of state.
  • Almost half of travelers under 30 wish their trips were a little longer.
Read on for a further breakdown of our findings.

Older travelers prioritize visiting family and friends

Two circle graphs underscore the Pacaso survey findings that older generations prioritize visiting family and friends over traveling for relaxation, all in the name of answering the question, “Why do people travel?”
Priorities change as we get older, and our travel habits seem to be no exception. 38% of all respondents named visiting family and friends as their primary reason to travel, but older respondents were most likely to travel for this reason. Respondents in the 18–29 age group slightly favored relaxing vacations (29%) over visiting family and friends (27%). People between the ages of 30–44 saw an increase in this divide, with 41% prioritizing relaxation and 26% visiting family or friends. People between the ages of 45–64 saw a flip in these options, with 37% prioritizing trips to visit family and friends over the 30% wanting to relax. This gap further widens for people 65+ with a whopping 53% of respondents prioritizing trips to family and friends as their primary reason to travel.The least likely reasons why people are traveling are just as enlightening as the most likely reasons. Business travel is still struggling to return to pre-pandemic levels despite many travel restrictions being lifted. Only 4% of respondents cite business trips playing a key role in their recent travels. While medical tourism is a growing industry — where travelers go abroad to take advantage of more affordable medical treatments — it’s the primary motivation of only 3% of travelers. Rounding out the bottom of our travel motivations are those celebrating an achievement. Only 2% of respondents cited this as their reason for planning a trip.

People are less likely to travel internationally as they get older

A graph underscores the Pacaso survey findings that people are less likely to travel internationally as they get older, all in the name of answering the question, “Why do people travel?”
While backpacking through Europe or taking a gap year abroad may be quintessential milestones for some people in their late teens or 20s, wanderlust appears to wane as we age. 87% of respondents prefer traveling domestically over going abroad in 2022, but the numbers varied across generations, with the youngest respondents showing the highest preference for international travel. 26% of people between the ages of 18–29 said traveling to another country was a high priority. This sentiment dipped significantly to just 15% for those between the ages of 30–44, perhaps because that age group is more likely to have children, making international travel more expensive or complicated. Additionally, travelers between the ages of 45–64 and 65+ were the least motivated to visit other countries.
A graph underscores the Pacaso survey findings that the youngest and oldest age groups are the most likely to travel out of state, all in the name of answering the question, “Why do people travel?”
Interestingly, while the 18–29 age group was most likely to cite traveling out of state as a motivator at 44%, people aged 65+ were the second-most likely at 37%. The older age group might be more likely to have children or grandchildren living out of state, and given their preference for visiting family and friends, this could be a motivating factor in their travel. This preference stands in contrast to the middle age groups, where just over 30% of respondents want to leave their state.

Most travelers wish they vacationed longer

A graph underscore the Pacaso survey findings that older travelers are the most likely to be happy with the length of their trip, all in the name of answering the question, “Why do people travel?”
If you wish you had “just one more day” to enjoy your vacation, you’re not alone. We found that 60% of survey respondents wished their vacations had been longer to some degree. The generational differences are where things get interesting. People between the ages of 18–29 were the least likely to be happy with the length of their trip. Surprisingly, 16% wished their trip had been a lot shorter, while all of the other age groups remained below 5% in this category. This age group was also the most likely to wish their trip had been a little longer, with almost half feeling this way. 45% of respondents at retirement age felt their trips were just the right length, and they were the least likely to wish their trip had been a lot shorter. This makes sense since they are not as limited by outside factors such as paid time off.If you’re among those who wish they had a couple more days to devote to their trip, you may be overestimating how much more happiness you stand to gain. Research suggests that our happiness reaches its peak on the eighth vacation day. By keeping vacations close to this length and taking multiple vacations throughout the year, travelers can maintain their happiness for longer periods of time.

25 more travel facts on why people travel

We’ve collected some travel statistics to get a better perspective of why people travel and their habits when they do. Two common barriers for travel-loving Americans are the cost of the trip and having time available to take it. Due to these factors, solo trips have been trending upward thanks to flexibility with travel arrangements. Take a look at these interesting travel facts to learn more about people’s travel habits.
  1. People who skip annual vacations have a 30% greater chance of suffering a heart attack. (Psychopharmacology and Substance Abuse)
  2. In 2019, 70% of travelers favor eco-friendly accommodations even if they weren’t originally looking for one. (Booking.com)
  3. 63% of couples claim traveling has helped them stay together. (U.S. Travel Association)
  4. 26% of solo travelers are interested in international travel. (Solo Traveler)
  5. Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom was the most visited theme park in the world in 2020. (AECOM)
  6. 35% of travelers plan to travel more this summer than they did last summer. (U.S. Travel Association)
  7. 90% of Generation Z’s travel decisions are influenced by social media. (Expedia)
  8. The Americas saw 12 million more international tourist arrivals in 2021 than in 2020. (Statista)
  9. In 2018, 52% of respondents cited cost as the biggest reason they don’t travel more. (U.S. Travel Association)
  10. In 2019, 51% of U.S. travelers spent less than one week conducting travel research for their flights. (Facebook IQ)
  11. 41% of solo travelers see it as an opportunity for personal growth. (Solo Traveler)
  12. Domestic business travel spending is just 44% of what it was in 2019. (U.S. Travel Association)
  13. In 2021, the number of people planning solo trips increased by 82% over pre-pandemic levels. (Booking.com)
  14. Leisure travel spending decreased by 49.4% from 2019 to 2020. (WTTC)
  15. In 2019, 66% of U.S. leisure travelers found their flights online. (Facebook IQ)
  16. Travel spending in March of 2022 was 5% lower than in 2019. (U.S. Travel Association)
  17. Travelers spend almost half of their travel budget on flights and hotels. (Expedia)
  18. 73% of business travelers believe traveling for business helps them become more successful. (Savvy Sleeper)
  19. In 2021, 70% of survey respondents said they were ready to travel internationally. (Solo Traveler)
  20. 80% of U.S. flight shoppers said their decision was influenced by loyalty programs. (Facebook IQ)
  21. In 2018, people who used 13 vacation days were the most likely to feel they took “the right amount of time off.” (Insider)
  22. 69% of travelers are more loyal to travel companies that personalize online and offline experiences. (Think with Google)
  23. 92% of millennials are motivated to find the best travel deals. (Expedia)
  24. 66% of solo travelers do so because they don’t want to wait for others. (Solo Traveler)
  25. 63% of Gen Xers use vacation travel to avoid burnout, while only 55% of baby boomers and millennials do so. (U.S. Travel Association
These travel facts are meant to help answer the question of why people travel. While our priorities may shift as we age, the underlying need for a temporary change of scenery remains. If you’re struggling to travel as much as you’d like throughout the year, look into how owning a second home can create more travel and staycation opportunities. 

Methodology behind this survey

This survey was conducted on YouGov Direct for Pacaso on May 4, 2022. 1,000 adults across the U.S. ages 18 and up were surveyed. The data is weighted based on age, gender, education level, political affiliation and ethnicity to be nationally representative of the U.S. The margin of error is approximately 3.1% for each question.

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