Vacasa’s 2022 spring travel trends

Plus, the best places to travel for spring break

Published February 2022

Blue deck furniture sits on yellow deck of vacation rental in Gulf Shores, AL
family of 6 rides the ski life in the breckenridge mountains

No matter your age or student status, one thing is clear: everyone needs a break this spring. And, according to our joint survey* with Allison + Partners, more than half of Americans are planning to celebrate the thaw with at least one trip during the season ahead—and spring break getaways specifically are on the rise.

We dug deeper into the data to see what’s cropping up for the vacation season ahead and determine not only if people are traveling, but also why—and why not. It turns out spring vacation-seekers are chasing new experiences and destinations within U.S. borders, though quality time with family and friends remains a priority. And parents in particular are favoring the value and privacy—not to mention the full kitchens—of vacation rentals for their trip accommodations.

So, let’s take a look at what’s in store for the spring travel season and beyond. Because (in our experience), when there’s a vacation to look forward to, everything’s coming up roses.

Travel plans are hatching…

  • More than half (56%) of Americans are planning a trip this spring and 37% are planning to travel during spring break, specifically—an increase from the 29% who were traveling for Spring Break 2021.
  • The likelihood of travel is even higher for hybrid workers (86%), millennials (75%), and parents (63%), who are most likely to be packing their bags in the months to come.
  • For those traveling this spring, but avoiding spring break, crowds (52%) and price surges (46%) were the top two reasons. Interestingly enough, parents more often say they decided to not travel for spring break specifically in order to avoid the crowds than those without children (54% vs. 48%).
  • Welcome back, friend. While one’s partner and/or kid(s) are still the go-to spring travel companions, the number of people planning to vacation with friends jumped from 16% in 2021 to 23% this year.

And the root of those vacation plans?

  • American travelers are mostly staying planted on U.S. soil, with 75% planning a domestic trip, 23% springing for a staycation, and 18% heading international.
  • Travelers cite needing a change of scenery and/or company (43%) or having been cooped up at home for too long (40%) as the main reasons for vacationing, so it’s no surprise they’re seeking greener pastures—more people plan to visit a new destination this spring than return to a previous vacation spot (43% vs. 38%).
  • It’s near-even though on what motivates people most when it comes to travel: 32% of respondents said where they're going, while 28% said who they’re going with. But, even so, family and friend events like reunions and birthdays were the activities most likely to encourage a trip in 2022 (45% and 32%, respectively).
  • Nearly one-third of all travelers are booking vacation rentals for their spring travels (30%), because of value for money (65%), access to a full kitchen (56%), and/or privacy (49%). Those perks, among others, come in handy for the nearly half (49%) of parents of preschoolers/kindergarteners who say they’re opting for a vacation home as their lodging of choice.
  • Though some people may plan to go bigger and better this year, our survey found more travelers favoring multiple small trips throughout the year (34%) or spontaneous getaways (16%), compared to the 19% who plan to take one big vacation in 2022.

Temperature check on travel concerns

  • Of those planning to travel this spring, 75% say they plan to travel more frequently in 2022 than they did in 2021.
  • Travel confidence continues to grow: This spring, 50% percent of Americans said they would change their plans if there is a COVID-19 spike in the area they are planning to visit—down from 67% who said they’d change plans last spring. But it varies by generation: Gen Z is most likely to change plans (68%), compared to 38% of Boomers who indicated they would if there were a spike.
  • However, the pandemic is a main reason why people are keeping their travel plans in hibernation: a quarter of non-travelers aren’t willing to risk getting stuck somewhere due to COVID-19 restrictions and/or quarantine requirements, while 35% stated they don’t feel safe traveling due to COVID-19—but that’s down from 56% of people who said they didn’t feel safe traveling last spring.

Vacasa’s most in-demand spring break vacation destinations

If April showers bring May flowers, then March is all about the beach (sorry, not everything rhymes). If you’re looking for the best spring break getaways, here are six of Vacasa’s most-searched destinations for March 2022 check-ins, suggesting that travelers are indeed seeking sand.

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*Allison+Partners Research + Insights surveyed 1,000 individuals over the age of 18 in the United States. The survey was fielded using the Qualtrics Insight Platform, and the panel was sourced from Lucid. Fielding was executed in January 2022.