As we settle into the fall season, we’re left reflecting on our summer vacations and wistfully waiting for the next ones to come around the holidays. Whether we’re lusting over the Italian coasts or lining up the cocktails at the Caribbean all-inclusive, the term “vacation” can vary greatly. We wanted to see what vacation looked like this year for Americans, where they’re spending it, and how often they’re taking it.
We surveyed 3,000 Americans to determine their most current vacationing habits. With that data, we were able to find the trends, declines, and favorites amongst travel in 2023.
- Americans vacation 2.27 times a year, on average
- Washington DC was the worst state (territory) for vacationing at only 0.5x a year, Mississippians took the most vacations with 4.7 breaks a year
- Millennials are 23% more likely to stay in all-inclusives than any other generation
The states vacationing far less than the recommended average
“Work-life balance” is the buzzword of the century, but do we always practice what we preach? No. Work hard, play never is the unfortunate anthem of some US states where they’re vacationing far less than the recommended average. According to an Insider study, the recommended amount of vacation days for maintaining a healthy life is 13 days a year. We could see this as a little over 2 times in a calendar year.
So what state is clocking in and never clocking out? It might not come as a surprise that it’s not a state, but rather a territory…that’s right: Washington DC. The nation’s capital is the worst place in the US for time off, with the average citizen taking only 0.5 vacations a year. So to say, many in DC actually don’t even take a vacation at all.
The runner-up for the most un-relaxed state goes to New Hampshire with an average of only 1.0 vacation per year. Ironically, New Hampshire is known as the “Switzerland of America” but in comparison to Switzerland’s 4-week vacation minimum, the two don’t even compare.
To complete the bottom 3, we have Connecticut with an average of 1.5 vacations a year. Maybe a week here and a long weekend there, but, all in all, Connecticuters aren’t the ones to kick up their feet and relax.
Top states that are taking their relaxation seriously
Not everyone is about the hustle culture, however. Some US states are committed to stepping away from their desks at least a couple of times a year and getting the relaxation they need. The best state for vacationing was Mississippi with an impressive 4.7 vacations a year. They say life moves a bit slower in the South and this is especially true for the Hospitality State where they take the time to pause, smell the flowers, and get in some real vacation time.
The second best vacationers were found in Idaho where they take 3.8 vacations a year, on average. With millions of acres of wilderness, it’s no wonder Idahoans are eager to take a break to explore their backyards!
The third best state for vacationing is Nebraska with a yearly average of 3.5 vacations. The midwest might be known for their manners, but, as it turns out, they’re not too bad at unwinding either.
Millennials are sparing no expense
If you’re looking for headlines like “Millennials are killing the whatever industry” or “Fabric softener is dead and millennials are to blame” then this isn’t the place. In fact, the travel industry has some thanking to do because the millennials are actually the generation carrying all-inclusive success on their backs. Who knew unlimited margaritas could be a superpower?
Maybe margaritas aren’t directly changing the world, but what we do know is that they’re enticing enough to make millennials the biggest group of all-inclusive goers out of all the generations. Millennials stay in all-inclusive resorts, on average, 23% more than any other generation. Of all the accommodation types, millennials went for the all-inclusive option 40% of the time, more than Airbnb, conventional hotels, or any other stay type.
When we look at the frequency of their traveling, however, it makes total sense. Of the groups that said that they “never traveled” or “traveled less than once a year,” millennials came in second place with boomers taking first place. So to say, the 23% of millennials that said they travel never/less than once a year, it only makes sense that on the rare chance they get a vacation, they end up going BIG.
Why some vacationers are turning away from the all-inclusive option
Millennials are trying their best to keep the continental options afloat, but it’s a group effort. On the whole, all-inclusives have taken a general hit after Covid, and travelers opting for more bespoke experiences, but with travel returning to normal we wanted to pry to see what some turn away from the offering.
Some of the most common responses were regarding excess with one respondent citing “I eat too much and feel bad.” Of the younger generations, Gen Z and millennials, their main concerns were waste.
Many were worried about the hygiene and quality of food offered at all-inclusive stays. One respondent expressed:
“I have a phobia about them [all-inclusive buffets]! The idea of what could fall into foods, and hair etc, is nasty! Used to be okay with them, but can’t anymore.”
The most cited reason was “inability to enjoy the local culture” with 39% of surveyors sharing this sentiment. Some other common concerns were lowered quality and price concerns.
When the all-inclusive is all good
Of course, this model does certainly work for some. Of the 47% who said they mainly travel with family, the majority said they favored the all-inclusive model. 37% of those who favored all-inclusive said it’s because they didn’t want to have to plan/think during their vacation. Ship the kids off to the on-site daycare and get to poolside sipping- makes sense to us!
While many stated that they avoided all-inclusive because of the price, there were also some respondents, who argued that they stayed at all-inclusive resorts because of the price. 35% of all-inclusive fans chose it because they thought it was a good “bang for their buck.”
The nice thing about all-inclusive options is that there is a little something for everybody. This is especially true in groups. The third most cited reason was the travel ease for groups or families, with 25% agreeing.
Boomers’ holiday breaks will surprise you
We like to think of boomers as the traditionalists of the travel industry, but that’s not necessarily the case. The world of adventure is changing and this generation is changing with it. We found some surprising ways that boomers go against the grain when it comes to their vacations.
Solo travel is typically associated with a young person setting out to see the world in blissful ignorance. While this may be true, the younger generations aren’t actually the largest group to solo travel. As it turns out sage wisdom makes for solo travelers, with boomers being the largest group by 16%.
They’re also vacationing longer. The beauty of retirement (bar the bank account) is that you can stay as long as you want! Of those who indicated that they normally vacationed for 2 weeks or more, boomers were the largest pool of respondents. Boomers take long vacations 46% more than any other generation combined.
R and R, in sum
All in all, many vacation trends remain true. Everybody loves a good break from time to time, with the championed average at 5-7 days per vacation. 81% of vacationers like the all-inclusive model, but don’t necessarily choose it.
We all need a good vacay every now and again and every generation surveyed has confirmed that to be true. Be it mountain escapes or tropical traditions, everyone deserves good rest and relaxation. How do you like to unwind?
We surveyed over 3,000 Americans in September 2023 about their vacation habits, following external research. The age range was between 18-70 with all participants currently residing in the United States. Of the respondents, 49% were male, 48.3% were female and >1% were transgender or non-binary.
Feel free to use the data or visuals on this page for non-commercial purposes. Please be sure to include proper attribution linking back to this page to give credit to the authors.
For any press questions, please contact riley.clark[at]casino.org