New Surveys of the Best and Worst for Summer Travel

Travel Tips and Trips

Airplane on the tarmac

Photo courtesy MD Magazine

‘Tis the season for summer travel surveys. Often interesting, the surveys morph into bragging posts for the top-ranked and unjust lists to be ignored by the low-rated destinations. While the results can be useful for future planning, savvy travelers should always assess the results with a good dose of skepticism since methodologies vary.

In 2 just-released studies, WalletHub, a personal finance site, finds the most budget-friendly US destinations and MasterCard reveals the most popular travel destinations in the world.

WalletHub Travel Analysis

Millennials, according to WalletHub, are more frugal travelers than average Americans, spending about $2,300 on their vacations, almost $500 less than the $2,788 paid by other age groups. To come up with money-saving but fun destinations, WalletHub analyzed the cost and hassles of getting flights from the 6 largest US airport hubs to 80 of the US’s  largest metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs)  as well as an area’s number of attractions, lodging costs, weather and parks.

WalletHub’s Top Cities for Summer Travel:
1. Las Vegas, NV
2. Orlando, FL
3. Atlanta, GA
4. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
5. Salt Lake City, UT

Some of this makes sense. Although Las Vegas is hot in summer, everything you want to do will be inside from gambling to dining to seeing shows. But what about Phoenix/Scottsdale and Salt Lake in the summer? Much as I like those destinations, golf, hiking and even swimming can only comfortably be done in the wee hours of the morning from May through August.

WalletHub’s Worst Cities for Summer Travel:
80. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT
79 New Haven-Milford, CT
78. Providence-Warwick, RI-MA
77. Syracuse, NY
76. Worcester, MA-CT

Except for Providence, we’re not sure the cities listed are big tourist—as opposed to business—destinations, despite having some interesting attractions.
Additionally, WalletHub finds that:

• The average flight to a top-rated summer destination costs $371, lasts almost 4 hours and has “0.45 connections.”

We’ve all probably boarded a flight with a “0.45 connection;” I think of the  plane ride I was on that took off,  landed where I didn’t want to be and then, hours later,  deposited me back at my starting point without getting me to the place I paid to visit. I think WalletHub is trying to say that nearly half of popular flights are non-stop.

• In San Diego the cheapest 3-star hotel room is 5 times more expensive than in Las Vegas. That makes sense and adds to Las Vegas being number one on the budget-friendly list.

Source: WalletHub

MasterCard 2015 Global Destination Cities Index

More than 383 million overnight trips in 2015, according to MasterCard, are expected to be made by visitors to the 132 cities in MasterCard’s survey. Visitors will spend the equivalent of about $360 billion (US dollars) during their trips.

According to MasterCard, London remains the most popular travel destination in the world, projected to receive 18.82 million international visitors in 2015 and Bangkok comes in a close second with 18.24 million estimated international visitors.

Additional MasterCard Top Global Destinations
3. Paris, 16.06 million
4. Dubai, 14.26 million
5. Istanbul, 12.56 million
6. New York, 12.27 million
7. Singapore, 11.88 million
8. Kuala Lumpur, 11.12 million
9. Seoul, 10.35 million
10. Hong Kong, 8.66 million


Asia/Pacific are increasingly popular and are also home to Colombo, Chengdu and Osaka, 3 of the top 4 fastest-growing destination cities between 2009 and 2015. In Europe, MasterCard defines Istanbul as the “most diversified” since 50% of its international overnight visitors come from 33 feeder cities.
Happy travel insights.

What are your top wish list US and international destinations? Comment below or and follow me on Twitter, @FamilyiTrips.


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