Stats: Mexico Tops International Destinations for Thanksgiving Travel

Thanksgiving travel volumes will look different in 2020 as Americans navigate a changing landscape of travel restrictions amid COVID-19—and while numbers are down from last year, travelers are still planning trips during the traditionally busy holiday season, according to Allianz Partners’ "Top 10 Thanksgiving Destination Index."  

Allianz reviewed travel plans around Thanksgiving for outbound flights scheduled between Saturday, November 21 and Tuesday, December 1, 2020. In line with industry predictions of a 75 percent dip in bookings for November, the travel insurance and assistance company noted a similar decrease in flight itineraries for the holiday compared to 2019 during the booking window. (In total, 632,757 itineraries were analyzed.)

What’s of note: For the sixth consecutive year, Mexico will draw more Americans for Thanksgiving than any other international destination with Cancun, San Jose del Cabo and Puerto Vallarta taking the top three spots, respectively. In comparison to 2019, Cancun moved up one spot while San Jose del Cabo and Puerto Vallarta each jumped up by four places. Always a popular destination, Mexico has been a leader in tourism recovery since COVID-19 began – the country’s accessibility and safety protocols like restricted capacity at resorts to enable proper social distancing may be helping to drive demand along with the promise of a warm weather escape. 

This year, all top 10 international locations are beach destinations—a first for Allianz's Thanksgiving index since launching in 2015—with European holiday survey mainstays London and Paris notably absent and facing travel restrictions. Following the top three Mexican destinations, Americans are planning trips to ArubaSanto Domingo and Santiago, both in the Dominican RepublicJamaica’s Montego BayProvidenciales, Turks and Caicos; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; and Havana, Cuba

In the U.S., New York, which recently retired its state by state travel advisory list in order to transition into a new travel testing policy, was knocked to second by Seattle, the first time a West Coast destination has led the list in the survey’s history. Taking third place this year is Los Angeles, followed by Dallas, Boston, Orlando, Phoenix, Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta and Las Vegas, which returns to the index for the first time since 2016. 

According to Allianz’s review, the day before Thanksgiving, Wednesday, November 25, is the busiest departure day for those headed to domestic destinations, with travelers most commonly taking four-day trips. Another consistent year-over-year travel timing trend: International jetsetters will use the weekend immediately preceding the holiday for their travel, with Saturday, November 21 as the most popular departure date.

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