Hawaii and California dominate the U.S. domestic travel market, with 46% of U.S. states favoring California for their domestic travel and 42% for Hawaii. But which states are the most travel-obsessed? New research reveals states located in the Southeast of the country have caught the travel bug.
The research, conducted by vacation experts Family Destinations Guide , analyzed Google Trends data over the last 12 months for search terms frequently used by travel enthusiasts and often associated with traveling. These search terms were then combined to give each state a total travel score to discover America’s most and least travel-obsessed states.
Low Country Hospitality
South Carolina is famous for its low country hospitality and beautiful beaches, with destinations like Hilton Head Island and Haig Point , Charleston, and Myrtle Beach all attracting visitors from around the world.
The study revealed that South Carolina ranks as the most travel-obsessed state in America. With a total travel score of 582 out of a possible 800, South Carolina ranks highly across every keyword analyzed in the study. For instance, South Carolina is the state most interested in travel agencies, having the highest number of searches for the term’ travel agent’ in the country, and is the state searching for the phrase ‘beach vacation’ the second-most in the country.
Greenville was named one of Food & Wine’s next big food cities, so some South Carolina residents may look for other destinations with comparable food scenes while they are searching for beach vacations.
It’s Always Sunny in The Sunshine State
Florida ranks as the second most travel-obsessed state in the country. With a total travel score of 561, Florida is mainly interested in budget-friendly holidays. The Sunshine State has the second-highest level of searches for the term’ cheap flights’ and the third-highest level of searches for ‘cheap hotels‘ in the country.
With Florida being a key destination for retirees, it’s no surprise that Florida residents fancy hitting the road to visit other destinations that are high on their bucket lists.
The First State
Delaware ranks as the third most travel-obsessed state in the country. Delaware has the highest level of searches for both the key terms’ cheap hotels ‘ and ‘travel insurance’ in the country, giving the state a total travel score of 557.
Delaware is the second smallest state in the U.S. According to the study, many of its residents are seeking travel opportunities outside state borders, possibly to Washington, DC, which received 19.1 million visitors in 2021, where fellow Delaware native President Joe Biden resides.
The study placed Mississippi next in the ranking; fourth overall with a total travel score of 554. Since there are so many Mississippians traveling, one would assume that it is easy to travel to other destinations. Actually, that is not the case. The airports in MS are very small and fly to few destinations. Most Mississippians have to drive at least an hour to an airport with available flights to travel by air.
Travel writer Latoyia Downs from The Impulse Traveler comments, “I live in Hattiesburg, MS (a metro area in MS), and for most of my travels, I drive two hours to New Orleans, LA. While Hattiesburg does have an airport with commercial flights, they only fly to one destination, and the flights are extremely expensive. So the fact that many Mississippians are traveling to other destinations shows that the hassle of getting to an airport is worth the reward of experiencing a new place outside the MS border.”
The top 10 most travel-obsessed states are rounded out by Nevada, which ranked fifth with a score of 538, Georgia ranking in sixth place, Wyoming in seventh, followed by Louisiana, New York, and Hawaii in eighth, ninth and tenth, respectively.
The Evergreen State Stays Home
At the other end of the spectrum, Washington ranks as the least travel-obsessed state in the country, with the lowest total travel score of 392. The state has the lowest search levels for the phrase ‘cheap hotels’ in the country and the fourth-lowest number of searches for both the key terms ‘vacation packages‘ and ‘family vacation.’
Despite being home to one of the most photographed destinations in the world and having access to some of the best skiing in America’s Pacific Northwest, Washington residents aren’t big fans of travel.
Utah features next in the ranking as the second least travel-obsessed state in the country. Utah has low search volumes for travel-related search terms across the board and has the second-lowest number of searches for ‘vacation packages’ in the country, with a total score of 416.
California dominates the U.S. domestic travel market , so it comes as no surprise that residents want to stay put in the Golden State. With incredible art museums , miles of sandy beaches, and some of the richest people in the world, there are plenty of reasons to stay in California instead of traveling elsewhere.
The study found that California is the third least travel-obsessed state in the country. The Golden State has the fourth-lowest search levels for both the search terms’ beach vacation’ and ‘travel agent,’ giving California a total travel score of 418 out of a possible 800.
The study set New Mexico next in the ranking, placing fourth overall with a total travel score of 418, followed by Oregon, which ranked fifth with a score of 423. The top 10 least travel-obsessed states are rounded out by Michigan ranking in sixth place, Minnesota in seventh, followed by Wisconsin, Illinois, and Massachusetts in eighth, ninth and tenth, respectively.
A spokesperson for Family Destinations Guide commented on the study: “According to data from the Vacationer, 81% of Americans traveled in summer 2022, either internationally or domestically. This equates to approximately 35 million more American travelers than in 2021, likely due to the easing of Covid-19 travel restrictions worldwide.
“This study can provide a useful indication into which areas of the country are home to the biggest travel enthusiasts, with South Carolina residents taking the crown and jet-setting away to new places and Washington residents perfectly happy sticking closer to home.”
Overall, it appears that Americans across the country are looking for affordable and convenient ways to travel, whether they’re interested in exploring new destinations, trying new restaurants , or simply heading out on a local road trip. As the study shows, it seems that residents in many states have travel on the brain.