What Are People’s Travel Plans in 2023? - InvestingChannel

What Are People’s Travel Plans in 2023?

Proprietary Data Insights

Top Domestic Airline Stock Searches This Month

#1American Airlines66,506
#2Delta Air Lines52,232
#3United Airlines45,325
#4Southwest Airlines30,664
#5JetBlue Airways14,099
#ad You Need to Know About Alternative Investments

Time to Buy Airline Stocks?

Source: Google Finance

Most airline stocks have been on a tear over the last six months. One glaring exception is Southwest (LUV). Did something happen at the airline that pissed off travelers and spooked investors? 

Of course, we’re joking. 

Southwest’s meltdown could not have come at a worse time. Over the holidays, the number of people passing through TSA checkpoints surpassed 2021 and 2022 levels and approached those of 2019, pre-pandemic numbers. Interestingly, one day in December the 30th saw more TSA traffic (2,367,709 people went through security) than the same day in 2019 (2,311,732). Probably because of all the people on rebooked flights thanks to Southwest and bad weather nationwide. 

So far in 2023, more people are passing through TSA checkpoints than in 2019 about half of the time. So clearly, travel is picking up. 

Does this mean you should buy airline stocks? We’re not big fans of buying individual airlines. As Southwest shows, they’re too volatile. But consider an ETF that gives you broad exposure to the space. 

The U.S. Global Jets ETF (JETS) holds all the names in our Trackstar top five. American (AAL), Delta (DAL), United (UAL) and Southwest (LUV) are the four biggest holdings, accounting for roughly 43% of the ETF’s holdings. But you also get exposure to smaller airlines, global carriers, aircraft manufacturers, and other companies in the travel space, such as Booking Holdings (BKNG) and Expedia Group (EXPE). Both BKNG and EXPE have performed super well over the last six months. 

Source: Google Finance 

Speaking of more people traveling, scroll with us for some insights into what your peers have planned in 2023. 

This is how it works, right? We shake off the holiday cobwebs in January. We break our New Year’s resolutions. Then, in February, we hit the road and the skies again.


What Are People’s Travel Plans in 2023?

Key Takeaways:

  • The best way to score flight deals is to be flexible with your destination. 
  • International and domestic travel are poised to increase meaningfully in 2023. 
  • With COVID no longer as much of a concern, cash is the main barrier to travel this year. 

One of the emails we look forward to receiving most each day (other than The Juice) comes from Going, which was formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights. 

Going sends flight deals. Its main travel principle and tip: Don’t focus on one or two destinations. Instead, be flexible. When a deal comes up on a place of interest, jump on it. By being open to a large number of cities, you’re more likely to score killer deals. 

Going recently released its excellent survey of travelers, which shows how they traveled in 2022 and how they intend to travel in 2023. Here are some highlights:

  • 42% of Going members took more trips in 2022 than they originally planned to. 
  • Just 5% said they didn’t take any trips in 2022, down from 9% the year prior. 
  • 60% of respondents intend to take more international trips in 2023 than they took in 2022. 
  • 46% expect to travel more domestically this year than last. 

Among trips respondents already planned for 2023, below are the percents of people who already have one or two international or domestic journeys on the calendar:


Source: Going

Only 8% have no international trips and 7% have no domestic trips on the docket. An impressive 24% of Going members have three or more international trips scheduled, while 51% have booked three or more domestic getaways already. 

In 2022, 66% of respondents said COVID was their main barrier to travel. That number has plummeted to 15%, with 27% citing lack of funds as the top obstacle now. 

Makes sense, given overall inflation and travel site Hopper’s prediction that fares for trips between February and April will be 13% more expensive than they were a year ago. 

The Bottom Line: Airline fares cooled down at the end of 2022 after skyrocketing in the first half of the year. Makes sense that they could go back up given what looks like higher demand. 

This underscores the point of being flexible with not only your destinations, but when you travel. Generally, you’ll find less expensive fares if you fly on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday. 

With the increase in remote work, we’ll see how much this changes. Maybe at some point, the Friday-to-Sunday standard weekend or the Thursday-to-Monday long weekend won’t be a thing anymore.

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