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Looking Back: Where Did Everyone Go This Holiday Season?

Winter holidays are the busiest time of year for travel. With kids off from school, many adults taking a much-needed break from work, and reasons to gather, there’s no other time where American migration is this much aflutter.

But where did everyone go in December 2022?

Just for fun (and for future travel bookings to see what’s trending here in the U.S.!), here’s a look back at the season just behind us so we can answer that exact question.

Data courtesy of Scholaroo.com

Denver and Colorado Springs, Colorado

By destination, this lags behind others for out-of-state appeal with a 7.4% rate this year. However, an equal rate for Colorado Springs attests that the tradition remains alive and well, since if you look exclusively at the state, 14.8% are headed for the mountains during the holiday. The ones who did fly out for the slopes and a taste of a mountain winter flew in from Texas, Wyoming, California, Nebraska, and New Mexico.

New York, New York

The City That Never Sleeps is hot even when it’s cold, as these numbers prove, with 9.9% of its holiday visitors coming in from out of state. Granted, most were from neighboring states, such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut (in that order), but surprisingly, Floridians left their sunny shores to compare their oranges to this Big Apple.

Orlando, Florida

The Mouse’s house was another popular one for the holidays. After all, what could be more synonymous with “family vacation” than this? Add its multigenerational appeal and its status as a snowbird and retiree haven and it’s no surprise it was only 0.5% behind New York City. Its number one source of tourists were from Georgia, followed by Alabama. New Yorkers came in third, followed by North Carolinians and folks from Tennessee.

Miami, Florida

Miami heat? Yeah, we get it. What sounds better in the dead of winter than a big dose of Vitamin D served sunny-side and warm? Just as many American tourists cross state lines to visit Miami as they do Orlando, which makes Florida as a state the leading magnet for domestic travel for the entire country. With 9.4% of their holiday travel originating from other states, leading with Georgia, Alabama, New York, North Carolina, and Tennessee, in that order, travel advisors can count on booking tickets to MIA.

Phoenix, Arizona

While the desert does get chilly in the winter, plenty of folks don’t mind having to bundle up a little to enjoy the holiday season among Saguaro cacti, road runners, and the lauded golf courses of nearby Scottsdale.

Plus, it’s a great option for a multi-city adventure with artsy UNESCO City of Gastronomy Tucson only two hours away by readily available rental car. The 23-mile Taco Trail, a slew of new James Beard Award winners, and outstanding hiking are only the start of why 9.4% of their visitors come from out of town – even more impressive considering this rate of entry is a tie with ORD and MIA and attracts folks from California, Nevada, Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado.

San Francisco

Rounding out the last of the 9.4% tied cities, the Bay Area is bringing in travelers from Georgia, Alabama, New York, North Carolina, and Tennessee—an interesting mix indeed! It’s even more surprising that it’s this popular with this wide of a geographic spread since the cost of living is so notoriously high in this tech capital and its neighboring areas. However, a possible counterpoint is that many Californians have fled these high costs during the pandemic as remote work became permanent even more widespread than it already was for this industry. This travel could just as well be homecoming as leisure tripping.

Surprise! These Destinations Are Not As Hot As You’d Expect!

Throughout the year, these cities perform really well in terms of domestic travel intake. However, for the holidays, it looks like folks want more homey and less sparkle and glitz.

Los Angeles, California

While WD has a presence in Tinsel Town, it’s not as much of a draw for holiday travel as the big one in Orlando. And the star appeal of the city normally gives its East Coast counterpart New York stiff competition for glamour, but it seems that many are willing to brave the snow. Plus, a large amount of New York natives have migrated elsewhere (it’s lost more residents from 2020-2021 than any other state), making their return prodigal and therefore circumstantial.

All told, L.A. fell behind the leaders with 8.3% out-of-state visitors—still a good number, but not enough to keep it in the top five.

Las Vegas, Nevada

The most magical time of year is also one of its most wholesome, which pushes Sin City lower on American consciousness as a holiday destination. It’s behind L.A. with its mix of 7.7% out-of-state visitors. Most are from California, but Arizona, Utah, Texas, and Washington, most of which are relatively close, making it an easy jaunt.

Chicago, Illinois

This headlining city that also marks the home of ALG Vacations® parent company Hyatt is normally a top-of-mind destination for savvy city travelers. However, we can’t blame them for setting their sights elsewhere for domestic travel during the notoriously brutal Windy City winters! This city doesn’t even make the list at all. Now that’s a cold shoulder!

Travel Advisor Business Growth Hot Take

Whether people are heading home for the holidays or taking a vacation during this time period, end-of-year domestic travel is definitely an area to focus on growth for. Keeping up with ALGV destinations and domestic sales with Facebook, Instagram, The Travel Beat with ALG Vacations® podcast, subscribing to our emails, and checking ALGV360⁰ helps you get familiar with which ones we service.

For even more sales and business growth support, join in with our Plan with a Pro national awareness campaign—new for the new year! You’ll find resources, social media takeovers, memes, and so much more to boost the visibility of your agency far beyond Small Business Saturday.

Want more personalized support? Find your local ALG Vacations® BDM here!

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