Personal Finance

Here's where Americans want to travel abroad — and where they're losing interest

Key Points
  • Whether Covid variants complicate overseas and foreign travel or not, Americans have been busy at least researching — if not necessarily booking — their next big long-distance getaways.
  • Travel website ParkSleepFly analyzed Google search data from April through September to track where U.S. travelers are looking.
  • Cancun, Mexico, is our No. 1 dream city stay, while Puerto Rico is the top pick for travel outside the mainland.
Gaviota Azul beach in Cancun, Mexico.
Getty Images

Just as countries have started to lift pandemic travel bans and Americans begin to at least think about booking vacations abroad, the spread of the delta and omicron variants of Covid-19 has thrown the tourism industry's fortunes to the wind again.

That said, hope springs eternal and U.S. travelers have been busy researching the long-delayed foreign trips they'd like to take once they can. Travel site ParkSleepFly has tracked where they want to go.

Researchers at ParkSleepFly analyzed data on Google searches from April to September by Americans on 168 foreign or overseas destinations in terms of flights, vacations and hotels, totaling them to determine rankings in categories such as the most in-demand countries, most in-demand cities and regions, countries increasing in travel popularity and countries seeing a decrease in interest from Americans.

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The No. 1 overseas destination that Americans are searching is Puerto Rico — technically a U.S. territory but still a flight or cruise away for those on the mainland. ParkSleepFly tracked nearly 1.69 million searches for the island. Rounding out the top five spots were the Maldives, with 491,200 searches; Costa Rica, at 384,600; Aruba, at 379,600; and Mexico, at 361,300.

The website also ranked the cities and regions attracting the most interest; the top 10 are listed in the box below.

Top In-Demand Cities & Regions by Google Search

Travel site ParkSleepFly analyzed Google search data for flights, vacations and hotels by Americans for destinations worldwide to determine the most sought-after holiday spots as we head into 2022. Here's a look at the top 10 urban and regional spots and the total number of searches in the past six months.

  1. Cancun, Mexico — 638,230
  2. Bali, Indonesia — 448,100
  3. Dubai, United Arab Emirates — 446,100
  4. Bora Bora, French Polynesia — 408,200
  5. Panama City, Panama — 299,210
  6. Paris — 265,400
  7. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico — 252,780
  8. San Jose, Dominican Republic — 225,690
  9. Toronto — 224,130
  10. Rio de Janeiro — 202,550

Source: ParkSleepFly

ParkSleepFly also looked at which countries are falling or rising and in popularity among U.S. travelers. Searches for China travel have plummeted 75% — perhaps not surprisingly, given media coverage of coronavirus, along with current geopolitical tensions. "Following the emergence of Covid-19, China imposed strict border policy and suspended all visas on arrival, so it's not surprising to see a decline in popularity," the site wrote in its blog.

In second place for less interest from Americans is Italy, with a 59% drop-off, which ParkSleepFly attributed to the country's numerous Covid lockdowns this year. At No. 3, Hong Kong — with some of the world's strictest pandemic border restrictions — saw a 54% fall.

Omicron Covid variant hits airline industry with thousands of cancellations
Omicron Covid variant hits airline industry with thousands of cancellations

On the bright side, searches increased significantly for overseas or foreign destinations such as the U.S. Virgin Islands, up 98%; the Maldives, up 72%; and Indonesia, with 61% growth. Overseas or foreign cities and regions seeing the highest growth in interest include Saint Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, up 77%; Toronto, up 45%; and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, up 41%.

For more on the study, and its methodology, go to ParkSleepFly's website.