2022’s Best Summer Travel Destinations, according to WalletHub

Los Angeles and San Diego are among the coveted top 20 summer travel destinations that WalletHub published today.

With nearly 80% of American travelers planning trips during 2022, WalletHub released its report on 2022’s Best Summer Travel Destinations.

To help travelers plan the perfect summer getaway, WalletHub compared 100 metro areas across 43 key indicators of budget- and fun-friendliness. The data set ranges from the cost of the cheapest flight to the number of attractions to COVID-19 cases.

Best vs. Worst

  • The average flight to a popular summer destination costs $356, lasts 3 hours and 34 minutes and has 0.3 connections.
  • The Los Angeles metro area is the most attractive destination on the West Coast and the Washington, D.C. metro area is the most attractive destination on the East Coast.
  • Florida and Texas are home to the most top summer destinations in the U.S., each with at least two metro areas in the top 15. Oppositely, New York and California have the largest numbers of the most unpopular summer destinations, each with two metro areas.
  • The Wichita metro area has the lowest nightly rate for a three-star hotel room, $36, which is 4.6 times less expensive than in Santa Rosa, the metro area with the highest at $165.

The 20 Best Summer Travel Destinations are:

1. Orlando, FL
2. Washington, DC
3. Tampa, FL
4. Austin, TX
5. Salt Lake City, UT
6. Los Angeles, CA
7. Honolulu, HI
8. Minneapolis, MN
9. Cincinnati, OH
10. San Antonio, TX
11. Miami, FL
12. Charleston, SC
13. Raleigh, NC
14. Jacksonville, FL
15. Philadelphia, PA
16. Oklahoma City, OK
17. Tulsa, OK
18. Knoxville, TN
19. San Diego, CA
20. St. Louis, MO



Expert Commentary

What are your predictions for the 2022 summer travel season (percent of Americans traveling; most popular destinations; busiest travel times)?

“For the peak summer travel, I suspect 80-90% of American households will travel. However, I think National Parks, National Forests, and State Parks will see another increase in visitation given fuel prices, inflation, and continuing health concerns; the ‘staycation’ phenomenon spurred by the 2008-09 recession combined with pandemic-motivated trends of visiting outdoor recreation areas could combine for a lot of adventure recreation relatively close to home for many Americans. June-August is the normal peak season with more travelers hitting the roads or taking flights around holidays (July 4th, Labor Day). I think a really popular destination this year will be the newest National Park, New River Gorge NP in southern West Virginia because it has activities for all ages and abilities and is within 500 miles of 50% of the US population. Great Smoky Mountains NP will also likely see millions of visitors this year.”
— Joshua Roe – Lecturer, Arizona State University

“As many states in the U.S. and many countries have dropped the vaccine requirements and relaxed the COVID-19 restrictions, travel will go ‘crazy’ this summer. The most popular U.S. destinations would be Florida, Las Vegas, California, and New York. Some European countries such as Italy, Greece, UK, and France are also top choices for American travelers. June and July will be the busiest travel times as college students end their semesters, and many families will be on vacation.”
— Jing Li, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor, Texas Tech University

Do you think the Federal government should block airlines from overbooking flights?

“While I do not necessarily think that the Federal government should mandate this, I do feel that airlines should be doing all they can to re-establish consumer confidence. People are very discouraged with air travel right now, and overbooking flights is not helping this situation. Transparency is very important right now for airlines.”
— Jan Louise Jones, Ph.D. – Lecturer, University of New Haven

“Airlines definitely will continue overbooking flights because people are more than ever canceling flights or changing plans at the last minute and at the end of the day, the airline industry is a business. The government should really not get involved with blocking an airline’s choice to overbook; the airlines are aware of their choices and are also aware of the consequences of their choices (travel vouchers and decrease in customer satisfaction).”
— Eve Marie Ruhlman M.S. – Instructor, California State University, East Bay

What are the most-costly travel mistakes? 

“I think the most-costly travel mistake would be not booking in advance. The closer the time to travel, the more costly the airplane tickets are and the more costly the rooms become due to increased demand and reduced supply. Also, traveling during the weekends (Thursday thru Saturday) when having the flexibility to travel during the weekdays (Sunday thru Wednesday) can be costlier, again due to increased demand during the weekends. Also, as it has most recently become viral, booking an Airbnb for shorter stays can be as expensive as if not more than booking a hotel room due to the cleaning fees and other fees associated with an Airbnb that is not reflected in the price. So, when deciding between an Airbnb and a hotel room, the length of stay should be considered along with the size of the Airbnb property being booked vs. the hotel rooms.”
— Tarik Dogru, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor, Florida State University

“Failing to plan. Overpaying for rooms or flights, especially during peak travel times such as weekends and holidays. Paying exorbitant ATM and currency exchange fees and falling for tourist scams or getting robbed/pickpocketed. Also, booking last-minute train or air tickets.”
— Joshua Roe – Lecturer, Arizona State University

To view the full report and your city’s rank, click here.






Image Sources

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