When it comes to vacation time, you had better be sure that the average American will use up their paid days off.
According to an AAA Travel survey, at least 40% of Americans take one vacation annually.
That equals around 100 million people, and at least 28% of those people will end up taking at least three holidays a year.
According to an Expedia survey, the standard American will travel domestically one to two times a year.
Expedia also lists that flyers older than 54 were more likely to travel more than two times a year.
On the other hand, only 10% of respondents listed that they travel five times a year within the United States.
As you can see, there is a significant variation in the number of travel days used. Additionally, many Americans tend to travel short distances versus internationally.
Below, we’ll provide a breakdown of how often the average American travels.
Table of Contents
- What Determines “Travel”?
- Average American Domestic Travel
- Average American International Travel
- What Influences American Travel Numbers?
- So, How Much Does the Average American Travel?
- Frequently Asked Questions: Average American Travel Time
There are two types of travel when it comes to tracking how much a person vacations domestically or internationally.
Domestically, it means that an individual is traveling inside of the United States or within U.S. territories.
On the other hand, international travel describes Americans traveling outside of the United States to different countries.
Now, the average person can technically “travel” anywhere. But for the sake of this article, we determine traveling as being traveling from one destination to another.
For example, a person can travel from one town to the neighboring one, and it would still count as domestic travel.
What would not count as domestic travel is if an American traveled outside of their city for a camping trip.
Another great example is if someone drove across town, etc. These would not be examples of domestic travel.
According to the 2019 U.S. Travel and Tourism fact sheet, at least 80% of all travel in the United States is domestic travel.
With the average person in the United States getting at least 14 days of vacation time off each year, most Americans will end up traveling once.
It’s no secret that everyone wants to use their vacation days. However, only a few people tend to use all 14 of their paid time off as travel days.
In fact, only 10 days of those days are used for domestic activities, with most cases being less than four days.
Even with more days off, the average person will not end up traveling domestically more than a few times per year.
However, domestic travel has since increased by 1.7% in 2019 with over 2.3 billion person-trips.
According to Statistica, there were at least 464 million domestic business trips in 2019, with even more leisure trips at 1.87 billion.
This number has dropped within the past few years and isn’t expected to rise until 2025.
International travel is a bit more complicated to do because of a number of factors. The average American is most likely not going to travel internationally because around 71% of people can’t afford it.
Other reasons listed in a SKIFT survey include:
- They don’t want to
- They have a pet
- Have to pay a mortgage
- Have children
According to Statistica, in 2020, at least 9.84 million U.S. citizens have traveled overseas. In previous years, there were at least 44.81 million.
However, this number excludes Canada and Mexico.
At least 30% of Americans state that they travel internationally once a year. Most people visit at least three different countries when traveling internationally.
Even fewer people indicated that they went internationally multiple times a year.
A large portion of these numbers is highly influenced by whether the travel is for leisure or business.
While more international travel is attributed to leisure, domestic is more common for business.
So, when looking to determine what influences American travel, you need to consider what type of travel and their associated statistics.
On average, around 405 million Americans travel long distances for work, with most of these trips being inside the United States.
So, if you were to compare that to the total amount of domestic trips, you can see that there is a lower portion that travels annually for fun.
You also have to consider that these statistics do not include Canada or Mexico for travel.
They also exclude United States territories. So, Americans may travel a bit more if you factor in these missing numbers.
The average American tends to use 17.4 days of paid time off to travel. Only around four to five of those days are vacation days, as most individuals try and plan their vacation around a weekend.
After that, the rest of the days are generally saved for short summer vacations.
So, the average American may plan one or two trips a year, with only one being a major international trip for leisure.
The rest of their vacation days are generally saved and either expire or roll over to the following year.
However, 30% of Americans report that they have almost zero interest in going on a vacation.
The average American has recently been traveling more often than before, at 17.2 days per year. This is more than nearly half a day increase from the previous year.
Thus, about a 2% increase in vacation time spent annually.
Around 71% of Americans admit that they have traveled to at least three nations outside of the United States.
However, around 29% of Americans have admitted that they have never been abroad but have traveled inside the country.
So, the average American travels inside the U.S. but not internationally.
Combined, American travelers have taken around 1,7797.7 million vacation trips in 2019. In 2020, only half of the people surveyed said they would travel to their destination.
2020 is a limited exception, of course, as travel increased in 2021 and continues to do so in 2022.
So, a person will only take one trip per year on average for leisure and at least a few trips for business annually.
These numbers drastically change depending on international and domestic travel.
The number of vacation days the average American takes is likely limited due to the limits of the U.S. workforce.
The average business allows an American worker 16 business days of paid leave.
However, most workers save these days for emergencies or other special occasions. According to Glassdoor, the average American uses their vacation days, but their vacation only lasts around four days.
As you can see, the average American doesn’t travel too often. However, they tend to use up their vacation days, and most get out at least once a year.
These numbers have likely decreased due to varying factors over the past few years, including the cost of travel.
However, more Americans plan to travel in the future, and we may see numbers rising again.
That being said, the amount of travel is mainly domestic and not international travel. Hopefully, we’ve helped you understand how often the average American travels.