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Florida, Texas among top summer travel destinations
Graphic travel
Study results show the average flight to a popular summer destination costs $377, lasts three hours and 59 minutes and has 0.4 connections.

With nearly 82 percent of Americans planning to take a trip this summer, the personal-finance website WalletHub has released its report on the Best Summer Travel Destinations in 2024, as well as expert commentary.

To help travelers plan the perfect summer getaway, WalletHub compared 100 metro areas across 41 key indicators of an affordable and fun vacation. The data set ranges from the cost of the cheapest flight to the number of attractions to the average price of a two-person meal.


Top 20 Summer Travel Destinations

Atlanta, Georgia was number one on the list, leading the way in terms of summer spots. Coming in at number two was Washington, DC followed by Orlando, FL; Honolulu, HI; Tampa, FL; Austin, TX; Philadelphia, PA; Chicago, IL; El Paso, TX and, rounding out the top 10, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Numbers 11 through 20 were: Salt Lake City, Utah at number 11 followed by New York, NY; Richmond, VA; Miami, FL; Springfield, MO; Knoxville, TN; Tulsa, OK; Oklahoma, OK; San Antonio, TX and, at number 20, Los Angeles, California.


Best vs. Worst

The average flight to a popular summer destination costs $377, lasts three hours and 59 minutes and has 0.4 connections.

The Los Angeles metro area is the most attractive destination on the West Coast and the Washington, D.C. metro area is the most attractive destination on the East Coast.

Florida and Texas are home to the most top summer destinations in the U.S., each with at least two metro areas in the top 15. Oppositely, California has among the largest numbers of the most unpopular summer destinations, with the Santa Rosa-Petaluma metro area at number 99 and, last on the list, the Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura metro area at number 100.

The San Antonio metro area has the lowest nightly rate for a three-star hotel room, which is 5.2 times less expensive than in Oxnard, the metro area with the highest.

To view the full report, visit:


“When picking a summer travel destination, it’s easy to focus just on the types of activities you want to do or certain cities you’ve always wanted to see. However, choosing a destination that’s not only entertaining but also affordable is important when travel, dining and activity costs have surged so much in recent years. It can also allow you to have a longer, more relaxing trip,” said Cassandra Happe, WalletHub Analyst. “The Atlanta metro area is the best summer travel destination, in part because the cheapest flights from major cities don’t require any connections and can cost as little as $278. In addition, Atlanta has a lot of diversity when it comes to attractions. The city has a lot of amusement parks, shopping centers, ice cream shops and swimming pools, so there are plenty of places to have fun and cool off.”


Expert Commentary

Bridget Niland, Ph.D., J.D., Niagara University

Dean, College of Hospitality, Sport, and Tourism Management

What are your predictions for the 2024 summer travel season (percent of Americans traveling; most popular destinations, busiest travel times)?

Research and reports on upcoming travel trends forecast that the summer of 2024 will be another strong season for domestic travel. This forecast, a testament to the travel industry’s unwavering resilience, remains strong despite persistent inflation and volatile prices across transportation, accommodation, food, and entertainment expenses. Travelers saw some relief from higher transportation prices in the first quarter of this year, but April brought a nearly 25 percent increase in flight costs. The percentage of Americans traveling this summer is predicted to be between 82 and 93 percent. Those of us traveling to U.S. beaches and coastal destinations should expect lots of company in the United States continuing strong through July. Travel for youth and amateur sports participation will also remain high this summer. According to the Sports Events Tourism Association, Americans took over 200 million sports-based trips in 2023, with youth sports events as the top segment of that market. Sixty percent of cities cited sport and recreation as the largest room-night generator.


Do you think the Federal government should block airlines from overbooking flights?

The federal government issued some consumer-friendly rule changes for airplane travelers, but it has yet to tackle the problem of airline overbooking. The new rules make it easier for travelers to understand when an airline must issue a refund and place new parameters on the processing and timing of refunds. Pursuing these rule changes could be viewed as the government addressing the negative ramifications of longtime airline practices, including overbooking. Airlines justify the practice of overbooking as necessary to keep fights affordable. Perhaps the government’s new refund regulations are the right approach to looking out for consumers but stopping short of regulating practices that keep airline travel within reach of most Americans.


What tips do you have for people looking to travel on a budget?

As a Dean of a College Hospitality, Sport, and Tourism, we love to prepare students to manage every facet of the traveler experience, but there are elements you can rein in to keep costs affordable. Your food and beverage are always major expenses, which can quickly escalate. Finding inclusive accommodations can alleviate non-stop credit charges while away from home, but be careful to read the fine print to make sure you have enough options to make the trip feel like a treat and not a chore. Food and beverage costs are a key factor in the popularity of short-term rental locations. Travelers should nonetheless be careful before booking these alternative hotel accommodations because cities and towns across the globe are adding taxes and other fees to these rental arrangements. Buying and preparing your own food while on vacation will cut your costs, but again, be sure to weigh the idea of cooking and cleaning with your desire or need for some true relaxation time.