Bucket list splurge: Despite high costs, Americans are spending big on international travel

NEW YORK — The average international trip costs nearly $5,000, according to new research – but that’s not stopping travelers from indulging. A survey of 2,000 Americans who travel internationally found that despite the cost, the average respondent has been on six international trips in the last five years alone, with a third saying they’ve been on even more (34%). If time is money, many make the most of that, too, with one in eight vacationing internationally for upwards of three weeks at a time.

Conducted by OnePoll for Delta Vacations, the survey found that for international vacations, Americans have spent the most time in Europe and South America over the past five years and the least time in Antarctica and Africa.

Don’t count those continents out on future trips, though, as most respondents have a “bucket list” of international destinations they’d like to visit (55%). One in five of those who do say there are at least 10 places on that list (21%).

People shared some of their fondest memories of traveling to other countries, like “getting engaged on the beach in Costa Rica,” “climbing the Great Wall of China,” and eating “an incredible fish pie at a hole-in-the-wall in Edinburgh.”

More than a quarter admit they like to spend time doing “tourist” activities (27%), while 24 percent enjoy spending time among locals — and 40 percent enjoy a mix of both. Most of those surveyed are also interested in learning about a foreign country’s culture while they’re there (77%). To help prepare themselves, 50 percent said they downloaded a language app to try to familiarize themselves with the language of the country before visiting.

However, 40 percent of Americans admitted that traveling to another country makes them feel nervous, possibly because they’ve run into issues like booking accommodations in an undesirable location (48%), booking reservations incorrectly (38%), or having difficulty finding transportation (33%).

tourists
(Photo by Tim Gouw from Pexels)

Nearly half said they’ve been scared or nervous to visit an international destination before but put these fears aside and went anyway (48%), leaving nearly all of these respondents glad they took the chance (93%).

“Traveling abroad is definitely worth the experience,” says the president of Delta Vacations, Kama Winters, in a statement. “It allows you to immerse yourself in other cultures, try new things, and expand your perspective.”

Making sure they get everything right can be a lot of pressure, which may be why 44 percent of travelers prefer to leave the trip booking to professionals like travel agents or tour operators. If respondents had to choose their top picks for a comfortable flight, they’d opt for more comfortable seats (40%) and more meals or snacks (36%) of better quality and quantity (34%).

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 people who travel internationally was commissioned by Delta Vacations between Jan. 30 and Jan. 31, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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About the Author

Sophia Naughton

Meet StudyFinds’ Associate Editor, Sophia Naughton. Sophia graduated Magna Cum Laude from Towson University with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication directly focused in journalism and advertising. She is also a freelance writer for Baltimore Magazine. Outside of writing, her best buddy is her spotted Pit Bull, Terrance.

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