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BDRC: Americans like to ‘stick to the plan’ when traveling abroad

Europe is Americans’ most popular destination region with nearly a third (30%) of passengers traveling there, while Asia Pacific emerges as a strong second (27%); Paris still reigns as top city to visit with 23% citing it as first or second choice – but Italy wins out as preferred country, with 15% voting it #1

WASHINGTON – Research consultancy BDRC's Global Passenger Study uncovers the views and habits of over 16,000 international air travelers. The results give fresh, and sometimes surprising, insights into the preferences of Americans who are flying internationally.

The study reveals that American international air passengers, in comparison to their European, Asian and Latin American counterparts, are more likely to plan their trip in advance to know what to expect and are less interested in traveling independently (i.e. discovering things 'at their own pace').  Further, American leisure travelers spend more money on international vacations and stay more nights away than travelers from other regions. When visiting international destinations, Americans are keen to experience the local culture but also want to make sure they 'check off' the main tourist sites. 

Other key highlights include:

  • Among the sample of more than 2,000 American international travelers, an overwhelming majority (72%) are traveling (by air) for leisure.
  • These travelers take an average of 4 leisure trips abroad per year, and spend 28 nights in hotels.
  • Americans have the highest proportion of Boomers (a group with potentially greater travel flexibility than other demographics) traveling via air internationally.
  • When traveling abroad, Americans' hotel tier preference is for Upper Midscale accommodation (78%) followed by 45% opting for Luxury and 45% opting for Midscale.
  • Demonstrating the disruptive growth of the 'home sharing' sector, 39% of US travelers surveyed have stayed at a home share property abroad (Airbnb, VRBO, etc.) in the past year.
  • In terms of airlines, most Americans are choosing to fly internationally on Delta, followed by American Airlines and United.

"These results demonstrate that US travelers are more likely to want organized travel, seeking assistance in planning to avoid 'surprises' on the trip," said Matthew Petrie, President, BDRC Americas. "This desire to avoid the potential pitfalls of international travel is good news for travel companies and the growing 'custom travel' sector."


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