Vacasa spring break travel trends 2020

Published February 2020


Contrary to popular belief, spring break isn’t only for college students and families with children on holiday from school. According to a recent study, one in four adults are traveling for spring break this year. That means people from all walks of life are jumping at the opportunity to escape dreary weather in favor of sunshine and relaxation.

Right about now, millions of Americans are starting to plan their spring break, which most commonly takes place from March to mid-April. That’s why we decided to learn more about what spring breakers are looking for in a vacation, so we could share the best, most informed recommendations on how to make it unforgettable.

7 insights about spring breakers

First, we wanted to get a better sense of what travelers care about most these days, and how they want to spend their spring break.

We teamed up with Allison+Partners in February 2020 to survey 1,351 Americans over the age of 18. Fielding was conducted on the Qualtrics Insight Platform and the panel was sourced from Lucid. Respondents were given the opportunity to select multiple answers to each question. And, here’s what we learned.

1. Sustainable travel is a major priority.

Ninety-three percent of folks we surveyed said eco-friendly travel is the way to go. Given the broader cultural focus on over-tourism and human impact on the environment, we’re not surprised. But what are they doing to take action, you ask? Here are the top three ways travelers are living their truth.

2. Hidden gem destinations trump popular hotspots.

Eighty-five percent of our respondents want to retreat to a small, charming town over spring break. Another socially conscious move to combat over-tourism? We think so. But, we also know people innately crave the untapped and never-before-seen. These are the aspects of their vacation they’re most looking forward to.

3. Travelers are bringing their furry companions along.

Most travelers think a vacation without a dog is no vacation at all (and we agree). Here’s to never leaving Fido behind.

4. Vacation budgets are staying in the low four digits.

With the average full-time worker in the U.S. earning about $936 per week according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it appears people are budgeting a few weeks of pay for their spring vacation. But, they’re not going too crazy.

Forty-seven percent of spring break travelers are planning on choosing cost-effective transportation, and 42% are going to save by selecting affordable lodging. Pro tip: you can save on accommodations by booking a vacation rental for your group and splitting the cost instead of reserving separate (and spendy!) hotel rooms.

5. More people are unplugging from technology.

We were shocked (and pleased) to see this. It certainly seems that more and more travelers are discovering the importance of disconnecting, and they’re making a conscious effort to put their phones down.

6. The ultimate goal is quality time and R&R.

Unsurprisingly, hard-working Americans can’t wait to unwind for a week or two. And thanks to our findings in #5, we know they’re setting aside laptops and minimizing screen time to focus on what matters most: spending time with loved ones.

7. But, vacationers also want to let loose.

We asked what types of activities spring breakers plan on doing that they wouldn't normally do at home—and we were amused by the results.

And, a couple more things we’d be remiss not to tell you:

  • Nearly a quarter of Millennials want to use a fake name or accent while on spring break. Hermione Granger, anyone?
  • We don’t condone this, but we found out Gen X was most likely to take a dangerous selfie, at 19%. Move over, Gen Z. You’ve got some competition.

Top vacation hotspots and hidden gem destinations for spring travelers

We wanted to help spring breakers decide where to go, whether they’re traveling solo or with family and friends. We identified the seven most popular vacation rental destinations by combing through a comprehensive set of Vacasa and partner data, looking at combined occupancy in the U.S. markets where we operate during the month of March through mid-April spanning 2018, 2019, and what we have on the books so far for 2020.

But, as we heard from our survey respondents, some prefer the road less traveled. That’s why our travel experts also hand-selected smaller towns and cities near our popular spring getaways, with a similar look and feel. These hidden gems allow travelers to escape flocks of tourists, endless lines, and crowded restaurants. Plus, they can even score some deals.

Percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole number.

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