With the arrival of the summer travel season, we’re already witnessing what happens when two years’ worth of pent-up demand is finally unleashed. All indications point toward a record season for the travel industry, despite fuel costs being at an all-time high and airfare prices skyrocketing.
The Fourth of July holiday is always a highlight of the U.S. summer calendar and Americans are expected to turn out in force this year, despite record inflation rates and ongoing pandemonium at airports.
According to Priceline data shared with Travel + Leisure, major urban destinations have seen a jump in popularity among travelers booking their Fourth of July vacays this year; whereas, for the past two pandemic-era summers, travelers were seen to prefer more remote and less population-dense destinations.
“After two years of beach and coastal destinations topping the most popular lists, this summer we’re seeing the return of the big city,” Priceline’s chief product officer, Kevin Heery, told the outlet. “Travelers are excited to go back to major metros, such as Las Vegas, Chicago, and New York to experience the culture, entertainment, and dining that larger cities have to offer.”
Of course, vacationers can look forward to spending significantly more on their Independence Day getaways this year than they did in 2021. On average, domestic roundtrip airfare is 32 percent pricier than it was during the same period last year and hotel rates are also sitting at 18 percent higher.
Priceline’s data shows Las Vegas to be the number-one most popular destination for the Fourth of July weekend. Luckily, it also proved to be one of the most affordable vacation choices, with Sin City hotel rooms currently averaging $172 per night.
The Big Easy took the second spot among the most popular destinations for the long weekend, where visitors will have to reach a bit deeper into their wallets, as the average New Orleans hotel room now runs $390 per night.
Perennially a premier summer vacation spot, thanks to its status as the global theme park capital, sunny clime and abundance of freshwater lakes, Orlando ranked third-most popular on Priceline’s list. Hotel rates in Orlando over the Independence Day weekend are averaging $213 per night.
Next on the list of most popular big cities for the July 4 weekend were Chicago and New York, where nightly hotel rates average $249 and $263, respectively.
Other major urban destinations may not be among the most sought-after, but are certainly some of the most affordable cities for last-minute Fourth of July escapes, Priceline noted. In fact, Dallas proved itself to be the most cost-efficient choice, with average nightly hotel rates of $133; followed by Houston, where the average nightly rate is $135; and Charlotte, North Carolina, where the average hotel room costs $148 per night.
In terms of international destinations being booked for the same period, Europe proved the most popular region on the planet. London led the list of most sought-after spots, followed by Paris, Rome, Barcelona and—back across the pond—Montreal.
For the latest insight on travel around the world, check out this interactive guide.
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