Americans took 1.8 billion trips for leisure in 2017, with top travel activities being visiting friends and relatives, shopping and sightseeing, according to the U.S. Travel Association. That translates to over a billion dollars spent on travel per year.
In an effort to learn more about who is spending on travel and how they’re spending, we dove into the more than 500 million transactions of our users from across the United States. We analyzed travel spending by user location, age, income and credit tier to get a full picture of how travel plays a role in users’ spending habits.
7 in 10 Spent Money on Travel in the Last Year
Seventy percent of our users spent at least some money on travel in the last 12 months. With more than half (56%) spending on hotels, about 2 in 5 (44%) on airfare, nearly a quarter (22%) on car rentals. Cruises seem to be going out of style with only 2% spending on boats and cruises.
Where Big Travel Spenders Live
Residents of Massachusetts, California and Connecticut spend the most on travel. The average spending in those states is all more than 35% above the national average. Residents of West Virginia, Nebraska and North Dakota have the lowest amount of spending on travel, all more than 60% below the national average.
Urban dwellers are among the highest travel spending cohort and still, some cities tower over others. The U.S. city where residents spend on the most on travel expenses is Los Angeles at an average annual spending of about $3400—followed by San Francisco at $3200, Seattle at $2600, Houston at $2100 and New York at $2000.
Travel Spending Peaks at 35-44 Years Old
Not surprisingly, younger users tend to spend less on travel than our older users. Users under the age of 35 spend less than $1000 per year. Presumably, this is because they have less disposable income. However, travel spending peaks at 35 to 44 years old at about $1300 per year and then decreased as users near retirement age.
Higher Income and Better Credit Equals More Travel
As one might assume, people in higher income brackets tend to spend more money on travel than those in lower income brackets. Interestingly, however, travel spending does not seem to increase significantly between incomes of $90K and $150K per year—only a few hundred dollars difference. The most significant increase in travel spending is between the $50-70K and the $70K-90K bracket—jumping from about $630 to $966 per year.
People with better self-reported credit also spend more on travel than those with lower credit. People that report a poor credit rating spend less than $500 per year on travel and people who report an excellent credit score spend about $1700 per year. Perhaps users are building their credit with a travel rewards card, as travel spending varies widely between credit tiers.
- Based on Trim user transaction data from April 2017 to April 2018.
- Travel spending is defined as spending in the following categories: Airlines, bus and train stations, car and truck rental, cruises and lodging (resorts, hotels, motels, etc.).
- Averages calculated by dividing the total spending within the travel category per cohort by the number of those users that spend on travel within the cohort.