Travel

Shenandoah National Park, WV

Although we’re more connected than ever through our electronic devices, nothing compares to travel as a way to learn about yourself, other people, and the world.

There are few better ways thank physical travel to witness for yourself how life is lived on the remote corners of the globe: the food, culture, art, and values of people living all over the world.

The further we wander away from where we’re from, the closer we feel to home. For these reasons, among others, the travel industry is booming. What’s inspiring this inclination for wanderlust? Where are people going, and how are they getting there, and what are they doing once they arrive?

This article answers these questions and a whole lot more. By the time you’re finished reading, you’ll be planning your next trip — whether that’s a long weekend away or three months abroad in the farthest reaches of the planet.

The Spirit of Adventure

Until the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything, the travel industry remained one of the most robust sectors of the U.S. economy, with no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Strong economies almost always portend the kind of disposable income and leisure time necessary to finance the trip of a lifetime.

As 2020 began, domestic travel–related searches were up about 83%, according to USTravel.org, with international searches accounting for 11% of gross volume. Nevertheless, data from US Travel also states international visitation was up roughly 4.5% as the year began. Meanwhile, the average price of gas, fueling our domestic road trips, was also down. Following that, lodging occupancy remained up at a little more than 50%.

One strong segment of the international travel industry that remains is ecotourism, or travel in the natural environment with an eye for preserving limited natural resources. According to MarketWatch.com, the global ecotourism sector — segmented into alternative tourism, responsible tourism, sustainable tourism, and community tourism — reached a bit more than $300 million, and is expected to grow at a rate of 14%, reaching about $760 million by the year 2026.

Regardless of the reason people are traveling, the vast majority of travelers book their trips online. Leading the field in the world of virtual trip planning is the Expedia Group, home to the travel booking site Expedia.com.

According to SimilarWeb.com, Expedia receives about 28 million visits a month. That number dipped as low as about 16 million in April of 2020, the height of the global COVID-19 related lockdown. But it has gradually recovered since then, showing that the travel industry is set to rebound from the pandemic-related slowdown.

Ready to start traveling for yourself? In our next section, we’ll break down the travel market into three segments: domestic travel, including national parks; travel to all-inclusive resorts; and international travel.

How to Choose the Best Travel Destinations

In this section, we’ll provide a brief overview of some key sectors of the travel industry and provide some insight into what’s fueling this growth.

All-Inclusive Resorts

Many interested in international travel choose all-inclusive resort packages to get lodging and meals among many other amenities at a single price. All-inclusive resorts aren’t just international, either, with many resorts located domestically in states like Florida, Hawaii, and California.

More far-flung destinations boasting all-inclusive resorts include Costa Rica and Puerto Rico. In Puerto Rico, for example, the El Conquistador Resort is family friendly, with complimentary admission to Coqui Water Park.

National Parks

While overall travel and tourism slumped on account of the pandemic, those with wanderlust have stuck closer to home, and visiting a national park is on the upswing. Post-COVID, most national parks opened to some degree, and travelers have chosen parks as a safe way to travel without straying too far from home while crowds are relatively thin.

In addition, many travelers choose national parks in winter when many remain as beautiful as ever, to enjoy the wide-open spaces while they’re even more free from fellow visitors.

Outdoor Sports Destinations

Travel to enjoy outdoor sports and related activities remains as strong as ever, including skiing and snowboarding, mountain climbing, paddle boarding, and kayaking. On the strength of outdoor sports–related activities, cottage industries of gear suppliers, guides, coaches, and hospitality industries have sprung up all over the world.

For those looking to kayak while they’re on the road, the United States offers a full range of options in every corner of the country. Our favorite is the San Juan Islands in Washington State, with incomparable scenery suitable for all skill levels.

Ready to plan your trip? In our next section, we’ll dig deeper into some travel destinations and even tell you a bit about cities that have the millennial generation either visiting for fun or putting down roots for the long haul.

Take the Time to Travel

Bags packed and ready to go? Whether it’s a weekend away or somewhere you intend to stay put, begin planning your trip with these resources below.

Best Rock Climbing Destinations

Experienced rock climbers and those new to the sport alike will appreciate a trip to any one of America’s best rock climbing destinations. This guide tells you what you need to know about planning your first vacation centered around rock climbing, from where to stay and gear retailers, to the not-to-be-missed rock formations at every stop along the way.

Best Paddle Board Destinations

Paddle boarding is a great beginner water sport, and this guide tells you the best places all over the world to try your hand at SUP boarding. As well as destinations near and far — including Scotland; South Africa; Mesa, AZ; and Bend, OR — this guide will tell you the gear you need to get started, plus some pointers for picking out your first paddle board.

Most Attractive Cities for Millennials

The Millennial generation is one of the biggest and most diverse in history, and they’re now of prime home-buying age with disposable income to plan trips and take vacations. This has brought Millennial values and priorities to the travel and real estate industry.

Whether you’re a Millennial looking to relocate or a travel industry professional looking to appeal to this young and powerful demographic, this guide tells you what cities and towns across the United States are capturing the attention of the Millennial generation.

10 Best Checked Luggage: Hard-Sided and Soft-Sided

From a luxurious four-star hotel to roughin’ it in a bivouac, this ranking of the best checked luggage—both hard-sided and soft-sided—will help you find the luggage you need for your next trip.

In addition to the advantages and disadvantages of hard-shell and soft-shell luggage, the article covers which features to look for in your checked-luggage set, like zippers, pockets, and the eternal questions: wheels or no wheels (we say wheels!).  It also tells you what you need to know about luggage weight, and how to save some money on checked luggage fees the next time you head to the airport.

15 Best Carry-On Luggage Sets: Hard-Shell, Soft-Shell, and Duffel

Don’t let your luggage out of your sight—choose, instead, the best carry-on luggage set to keep your valuables close, saving some money on checked-luggage fees while you’re at it.

In addition to the 15 best carry-on luggage sets, including hard-shell, soft-shell, and duffel, this article clues you in to how to prep a packing list, among other packing do’s and don’ts: everything you need to know to beat checked luggage fees and save some money on your next trip, and all without sacrificing the comforts of home.

10 Best Luggage Brands: Shopping and User Guide

Those just beginning to shop for luggage can become easily overwhelmed by choice. Before choosing hard-shell or soft-shell, begin by considering the best luggage brand for all your travel needs. Trust us when we tell you, this ranking covers it all! From luggage design to warranty, and from construction material to luggage size and space, this article will help you pick checked or carry-on, while also providing some tips and pointers on saving money with the airline.

10 Best Luggage Sets: Business, Family, Instagram

If a luggage set is what you’re after for business or the next family vacay, this article covers what to look for in a luggage set, including wheeled, carry-on, and duffle bags. We even go over what to do with that laptop! If you think luggage sets are only for the rich and famous, think again. A luggage set could be just what you and your family need to make your next trip the trip of a lifetime.

Make a List and Check it Twice

Do you have additional questions before taking off on your maiden voyage? Let these articles answer your most pressing concerns.

How Much Liquid Can You Put in Checked Luggage?

There are a lot of rules related to flying these days, and worse than that, the rules are constantly changing. If you’re traveling by plane, one of the biggest questions on your mind might be how much liquid you can put in checked luggage? And what about the 3-1-1 rule, and when is a liquid not a liquid?

This article answers these questions and a whole lot more, with tips and expert commentary from experienced travel authorities from all across the internet.

How to Fix a Luggage Handle

Have you invested in some nice luggage only to have the handle break? Or while preparing for a trip, have you found that your old reliable luggage set is no longer up for the task, with a broken or stuck luggage handle?

Don’t despair, because this article teaches several tried-and-true methods for fixing a luggage handle that’s become stuck or won’t stay up. Even those with little experience will find this to be an easy and simple-to-follow guide for fixing a luggage handle.

How to Measure Luggage 

Looking to save money or wondering what to do to cut down on checked luggage fees? This article gathers tips and tricks from travel and luggage experts from a variety of sources.

It covers how to measure your luggage to make sure that it fits in the overhead without any surprise fees, as well as what to consider before even buying your luggage in the first place. It has everything you need to know about avoiding costly luggage fees while flying.