During the first quarter of 2015, fingers were flying on keyboards across North America, searching travel destinations, whether to escape the cold or simply the common.
Sojern, a travel data analysis firm, totted up who was looking for where, so to speak, and will release its full Q1 Global Travel Insights report on Thursday, April 30.
Europeans were focused on chasing the sun and bargains, judging by their Q1 searches: Spain held the top three destinations (Palma de Mallorca, Alicante, Malaga) as well as Nos. 7 and 8 (Barcelona and Ibiza). Faro, Portugal, and the Turkish cities of Antalya and Izmir also made Europe’s top searches list, with only New York (No. 5) and Los Angeles (No. 10, tied with Bangkok) representing U.S. destinations.
Wannabe wanderers in Latin America, meanwhile, showed more interest in Miami, Orlando, New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, as their respective Nos. 1, 3-5 and 9, when considering trips to the United States. Cancun was second, with Madrid, Barcelona, Santiago and Lima in the remaining slots.
As for potential travelers from Asia and the Pacific, they put Los Angeles at No. 3 on their list — below London and Bali (Denpasar), respectively — but no other U.S. cities made the cut; instead, Singapore, Paris, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Sydney, Incheon and Tokyo, respectively, filled out that list.
So what do these numbers mean for you, the person making late spring/summer travel plans? After reviewing all the data, Sojern came up with these tips and insights:
- Forget Paris, Go to Budapest ASAP: You thought you were the only one planning an epic shopping trip to Europe thanks to the weaker euro? Nope. Other travelers from North America are already packing: searches for travel to Europe from the US grew by 52% in Q1 and from Canada by 59%. But everyone’s heading to London and Paris – for even better bargains and no crowds, look East. Budapest, Bucharest, Prague, they were all affected by the weaker euro, are off the radar and they all await
- Who is Traveling When: North Americans in June, Middle-Easterners in July and Europeans in August. To be more precise, 50% of North Americans who searched for summer travel in Q1 looked to travel in June, 47% of Middle-East and Africa travelers looked at July and 23% of Europeans are planning to travel in August, more than anyone else. If you want to avoid the crowds and are looking at one of these three regions, plan your vacation accordingly.
- Book Your Tickets to Cuba Now: Between Airbnb now open for business in the Caribbean nation and weekly charter flights now available between JFK and Havana, Cuba is inching up on the list of most desirable vacation destinations for Americans: searches from the US to Cuba jumped by 184% this quarter. Now is the golden time to do it, before the travel restrictions are lifted entirely and it gets expensive and overcrowded!
- The Top Destinations to Avoid: The usual suspects on everyone’s list remain roughly the same: Los Angeles, New York, Paris, London, Barcelona and Bangkok. Since everyone and their mothers are heading there this summer, you may want to look at other more low-key destinations. Big tourist cities are best left for the off-season.
- How Not to Get Stuck Behind Big Groups at that Ticket Counter. 27% of Europeans search for travel for groups of 3 or more, so there’s a good chance you’ll get stuck behind them at some point during your trip, no matter where you are. The good news: They do tend to favor destinations in Europe over all other regions this year, with Spain and Portugal at the top of their list, followed by Turkey. So, see point 1 and go East.