Now that the world is beginning its recovery from COVID-19, many people are beginning to consider traveling again.  What are the most popular 2020 Travel Destinations in the United States?  The answer might surprise you!


2020 Travel Destinations


I have some really interesting information to share with you all. Very recently, I have received many questions, both from podcast listeners and blog readers, about what is travel looking like today, and for the rest of 2020.  What are the 2020 Travel Destinations that Americans are considering?   I was very fortunate to participate in a half-day webinar, hosted by The Travel & Adventure Show. And it was very interesting. I learned a great deal about the priorities of travelers for the remainder of 2020.  I learned which attractions are going to be most popular.  I gained insight about how the American traveler feels about airlines.  And I learned interesting distinctions between different generations of travelers.  Let me break all this great info down for you!


Travel Trends


An organization called Destination Analysis, based out of San Francisco, began surveying 1200 people throughout the United States in March, and continued to survey that same group of people weekly for 11 weeks.  The purpose was to document how they felt about travel. And how those feelings might change over time, as the information we understood about the Coronavirus, changed over time.

The three things that this group of people identified as the key factors that would help them determine where they would be willing to travel were:

-Safety and cleaning protocols

-Improving emotional well-being

-Opportunities for relaxation       

I get safety 100%!  Whether it’s going to the grocery store, or going to a neighborhood restaurant, all of us want to feel really comfortable that there is a high level of cleanliness and safety, and consistent protocols going on. And that is absolutely the case as it relates to hotels, Airbnb, airlines, rental cars, going in museums, public transportation, which is not just subways, but also Uber or Lyft. Feeling safe is really really important to people as they consider traveling.

The emotional well-being priority was interesting to me, understanding that this has been a very scary time. I think there’s a lot of people who still feel very scared. I can see why emotional well-being well being, and its improvement, is going to be a travel factor.

The relaxation part of part of travel did surprise me, and this is why. Many of us have expressed frustration over how many more puzzles can we work, or how many more Netflix episodes can we watch, or how many more closets can we clean out. And, so I would have thought that most people would have said they are ready to go out and participate in robust activities.  I know I’m ready to go back and see museums and go to restaurants and and enjoy flea markets and antique shows again.  But the survey results said that travel that includes relaxation opportunities is a high priority for most people.


Stack of Vintage Suitcases



Travel Destinations


Another interesting finding of this survey was what kinds of places people are most interested in visiting. And the number one destination was anything that is an outdoor attraction. Again, that probably doesn’t surprise anybody. State Parks and National Parks,  beaches and mountains fall within the outdoor attractions category. Makes perfect sense!  When you’re in fresh air, there’s lots of wide open space to social distance, and feel more safe while also traveling.  Interestingly, in 2019, that was actually the opposite. Outdoor attractions were among the lowest places of interest, and people really wanted to very urban cities, they wanted to go on cruises, they wanted to go to theme parks. And now it’s totally the opposite.

So, if you’re feeling that way, you are in good company!


Generational Travel


Another interesting finding was looking at the demographics of the people they surveyed, and then making some predictions about who’s going to be traveling the most, and who’s going to be traveling the least. Again, this may not surprise you.

The Millennials are the generation of people that the travel industry feels like are going to be the first travelers and the most aggressive travelers.  The group they predict that will be the least likely to start really aggressively traveling again is the Baby Boomer generation.

But what about Generation X, of which I am a part.  I’m 52 years old and I describe Generation X as the Empty Nesters. For those of y’all who fall into that category, we’ve all had our kids return home at the beginning of March, and many will stay with us through August and beyond, potentially.  I know lots of people whose kids came home, because maybe they were living in a city where they didn’t feel totally safe. Or maybe they moved to online work, and so they could go anywhere, and they decided to come home.  And some got laid off.  First hired, first fired.

I really think that my generation, Generation X, is going to be very interested in traveling when we get past Labor Day. We love our kids, don’t get me wrong, but returning to Empty Nester status, and returning to more freedom to travel, will be something many Gen Xers will look forward to!


Green fields with blue sky filled with clouds


Airline Travel

The final interesting aspect of the survey related to how people feel about airline travel, which again, didn’t surprise me, but I’m sharing it with you all because it may underscore some things you’re feeling too. Most of the respondents to the survey said that they are not ready to get on a plane yet, and we’re talking about domestic travel, not overseas travel, which I would think would even be more so the case.  People are just not ready to do that quite yet.

That’s a that’s a huge challenge for airline industry, in terms of communicating to the public how they’re going to keep us safe when flying.  How are they cleaning the planes.  What about crowded boarding situations?  Packed flights.  Many travelers are going to want more information, before they choose to buy an airline ticket again.


So, what does this all mean, related to The Curious Cowgirl Travel Blog and Podcast?

I’ve always been very interested in paying attention to trends in terms of travel. But, I very much have a specific perspective about traveling at the same time. You all know that I’m very interested in history and antiques, museums and flea markets, and that is a lot of the content I typically bring to you all, which doesn’t have anything to do with travel trends.

But travel is really different now. And travel is going to look really different for the rest of 2020. I’ll be interested to see how 2021 looks, but I just think the travel industry is going to look different for a while. And so, my reason for being a travel writer, a blogger a podcaster is not just to wax poetic about the stuff that I find interesting. I always want to bring good information to you.  I want you all to consider me to be a resource and a go-to when you’re thinking about traveling.

So, based on all the information I have shared with you, and the results of the survey,  I’m definitely going to be focusing on travel opportunities that fall into the categories that I mentioned at the beginning. I’m going to be covering a lot more outdoor travel, a lot more outdoor destinations.  There’s going to be some very significant road-tripping going on. Will and I have already started mapping out some travel plans for later this year, when our kids go back to school, and we have the time to really get back after it again.

The content I’m going to be providing to you all for the rest of the year, is really going to be geared toward how most people are willing to travel right now, and for the rest of this year.

As always, I really need your input and your feedback. I want to know what y’all are interested in. I would love a comment from you. I’d love to know your thoughts about where you could use a little more information as you begin to think about travel for the rest of 2020.

Looking forward to happier, and more travel-filled days ahead!


If you’d like to listen to my podcast episode on the same subject, simply click on the player below!





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