Where Americans Travel & What They Pay Globally
Download the full list of 50 cities analyzed.
U.S.: The strength of the Dollar made international travel a more affordable and a more frequent option
Making the most of the resilient U.S. Dollar against a range of key currencies, U.S. travelers broke away from the norm and ventured beyond the U.S. border more frequently in 2016 compared to 2015, as the number of overseas trips taken in the first ten months of the year increased by 8%. With the Dollar’s relatively strong position, U.S. travelers paid less for their guestrooms in almost two-thirds of their 50 most popular international destinations. But, most price hikes – and falls, in fact – remained in single percentage figures, with only a handful in the double digits.
Canada and Europe got the lion’s share of the U.S. outbound tourism, and their average prices rose accordingly. Asia stayed popular with Americans and continued to represent excellent value for U.S. guests. In Latin America, average prices stayed up even though almost all of the most popular destinations in the region declined.
“Americans got out and explored the world with confidence in 2016, with their travel budgets generally taking them further. With so many reasonable hotel prices, U.S. travelers were able to trade up for longer and more luxurious stays.” – Josh Belkin, Vice President & General Manager, North America for Hotels.com brand
- Most popular outbound region: Europe
- Best value region: Asia
- Largest average price increase: Reykjavik at +17%
- Largest average price drop: Istanbul at -29%
What U.S. travelers paid in their top 50 international destinations
- Canada stood out as one of the countries that reaped the benefits of increased U.S. outbound travel, with visits up 11% in the first 10 months of 2016.
- Four Canadian destinations made it into the top 50 international destinations for Americans and all four showed modest price rises from 2015 in spite of the relative weakness in the Canadian Dollar, with Toronto topping the chart.
- All eight of the Latin American destinations in the top 50 saw a drop in their average hotel room prices.
- Bogota was the only Latin American city on the list with a nightly average of less than $100 and it also showed the largest decrease in the region.
- U.S. travel to Mexico increased by 9% in the first 10 months of 2016. Four resort areas made it to the top 50 international destinations for Americans and all showed slight price decreases. Cancun already expected record visitor numbers for 2016 and remained the most popular Mexican resort area for U.S. travelers.
“The ease of travel to Latin America from the U.S., the beautiful and varied landscapes available across the continent and the low prices make it a must-see region for Americans looking for something affordable yet unforgettable.” – Josh Belkin, Vice President & General Manager, North America for Hotels.com brand
- Overall U.S. visitor numbers to Europe rose by 7% in the first 10 months of 2016 and 23 European destinations made it into the top 50. Of these popular destinations, prices rose in eight, remained unchanged in two and fell in 13.
- London retained its title as the most popular foreign destination for American travelers. The capital’s long-standing appeal as an international travel destination got some help with average hotel room prices falling by more than 10 percent, which was likely due to the drop in the value of the Pound following the surprising Brexit vote in June 2016.
- Edinburgh also saw a slight fall in room prices. However, when you check averages paid from July to December 2016 with the same period in 2015, both Edinburgh and London were down by several more percentage points.
- Istanbul was the only European destination in the top 50 with an average hotel room price below $100 and it also recorded the highest overall percentage decrease. The number of visitors to Turkey fell more than 30% in the first 11 months of 2016 following a series of terrorist attacks and a failed coup in July.
- Paris, the number two spot in the top 50, also saw a deep drop in hotel occupancy rates and average prices in the wake of major terrorist attacks and security concerns.
- U.S. travelers also paid less on average in the regular Italian favorites of Rome, Milan, Venice and Florence.
- Many other European destinations slipped to the bottom half of the top 50 price table, including Budapest, Berlin, Athens and Vienna.
- Following a strong economic recovery since the banking crisis of 2008, Reykjavik recorded the only double-digit percentage increase in Europe.
- Dublin also experienced a healthy tourism year in 2016, thanks to a sharp increase in visitor numbers during the summer, following the success of two major Hollywood productions recently filmed in Ireland.
- Spain enjoyed a record-breaking year of international visitors but American travelers paid only slightly more while staying in the two most popular Spanish cities, Barcelona and Madrid.
- There were 12 Asian destinations in the top 50, with prices paid falling in eight and rising in four.
- The destinations with the two lowest average hotel room prices were Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok, both offering value at under $100 a night.
- For the price of only one night in Playa del Carmen in Mexico, American travelers could have spent three nights in the Vietnamese capital.
- Average prices fell in the two Thai destinations in the top 50, but tourism to Thailand was thriving with record numbers.
- Taipei and Singapore recorded the highest average price percentage decreases in Asia overall.
- With the Japanese Yen regaining some lost ground against the Dollar, average prices paid per night in Kyoto and Tokyo both rose sharply, making them the two most expensive Asian destinations on average for U.S. travelers in 2016. However, visitors to Tokyo were clearly undeterred by the steeper prices, since the Japanese capital was still the most popular Asian destination for U.S. travelers.
Rest of the world
- The relative weakness of the Australian Dollar made hotel prices a bit more attractive to U.S. visitors in 2016.
- With more than 40 percent of its hotel rooms in the 5-star category, average rates paid in Dubai remained relatively high, but American travelers still ended up paying less for their room nights in the Emirates in 2016 compared with the year before.