Summer Travel Trends: Going Abroad, Rebounding Destinations and Wellness Exploration

May 4th 2016

As days are getting longer and temperatures are rising, travelers are gearing up for a busy summer season of beach trips, European vacations and stateside adventures. The Wall Street Journal’s Scott McCartney recently explained that travel agencies are expecting a very strong summer travel season, with bookings already filling up at top spots in popular destinations.

Let’s take a look at summer travel trends and where Americans will be spending their well-deserved time off these next few months:

Europe: “When it comes to summer travel, a strong dollar and cheaper airline tickets are overpowering terrorism fears,” said McCartney. Much to my delight, Paris has rebounded significantly since the November 2015 attacks, and lower-profile destinations, such as Prague and Lisbon, are seeing an increase in bookings. The strong U.S. dollar is encouraging Americans to venture abroad, along with lower airfares due to increased competition among airlines.

South America: With the Summer Games coming to Rio de Janeiro in less than 100 days, travelers will flock to Brazil, enjoying the Olympics but also leveraging their time in South America to explore other non-traditional summer getaways. Santa Cruz, Bolivia and Punta del Este, Uruguay are popular destinations for those looking to avoid scorching hot temperatures while sightseeing beautiful sites. Peru and Argentina remain at the top of the list for adventure seekers, offering fantastic hiking, biking, and other thrilling activities in history-filled settings.

North America: A new survey from found that 75% of Americans are traveling this summer, up seven percent from last year. The vast majority plan to stay stateside. At the top of their getaway list: Chicago, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. The strong US dollar will also encourage Americans to cross the northern border and spend time exploring Canada, mainly Montreal, Quebec, Toronto and Vancouver. We’re itching to get to Alberta’s Lake Louise, ourselves.

Cuba: The U.S. government has been steadily easing travel restrictions to Cuba, and while going strictly as a tourist for a beach vacation remains prohibited, individual and organized “people-to-people” trips that are education-based are permitted. Afar Co-Founder Joe Diaz explained that “Cuba for the average traveler is extremely doable,” and travel experts say now is a good time to go. While there are still concerns and fears, more Americans are willing to put the island into their consideration set for a summer vacation.

Additional Trends:

With the steady economic recovery, luxury travel is on the rise. High-end hotels in Paris, Berlin, London, Madrid and Rome are reporting increased bookings for the summer season, especially from multigenerational families looking to spend one week (or more) at popular European destinations.

Wellness travel is growing 50% faster than regular travel, driving the experiences travelers seek out while on vacation. Gone are the days wellness travel meant a spa treatment during a traveler’s trip. Wellness is now the common denominator in travel decisions, resulting in increased interest and bookings for yoga retreats, adventure travel, and mental wellbeing.

The national summer travel outlook looks pretty similar to the Mfa summer outlook. While some of us will be headed to Europe, others will stay stateside to surf, bike their way through hip cities, unwind at the beach or devour the local food scene. Maybe that’s why they call us trendsetters?


By Amelie Bruzat

Amelie is an Account Supervisor on Mfa’s Travel & Culinary division, leading a team that excels at reaching travelers through integrated earned, owned, paid and shared media campaigns. A native of France, she developed a passion for food and travel at an early age and loves that her job allows her to daydream about her next trip.


Photo courtesy of Chatham Bars Inn (@chathambarsinn)

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