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The New Spring Break: Data Reveals Emerging Spring Break Destinations Over the Past Five Years

/EIN News/ -- Insider Index Looks at Shifts in Traveler Preferences and Finds Relaxation, Affordability and Convenience Reign Supreme

Use Promotion Code BEACHME to Save 15 Percent off Hotels through March 13

CHICAGO, Feb. 23, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Spring break travel is evolving in America, with data showing the rise of new Spring Break destinations and shifting traveler priorities. The latest Orbitz® Insider Index examines Spring Break trends and identifies emerging destinations with substantial growth over the past five years based on hotel bookings.

According to the Orbitz Insider Index, travelers are looking for relaxing alternatives to historically popular Spring Break locations. Fifty-three percent of Americans said relaxation is the main reason they are traveling over Spring Break this year.1 The Index also found that 61 percent of Americans are traveling with spouses, family or children.2 With the added element of family travel, it’s not surprising that over half of travelers feel they need a vacation from their vacation.

“The need across America to get off the fast track is driving travelers to seek a new Spring Break experience,” said Jeanenne Tornatore, senior editor of “While crowd favorites like Cancun and Orlando will keep their status as top spring break destinations, we are seeing people take a more thoughtful approach to their spring break options, expanding their trips to locations like Mesa, Ariz., Houston, Texas and even international destinations like Dublin and Panama City.”

Costs are also driving travelers to make different decisions about Spring Break travel than they have in the past. Thirty percent of travelers listed either cheaper airfare or cheaper gas as key influencers of their Spring Break travel plans in 2016. However, that does not mean travelers are tightening the purse strings. Macro trends like the strength of the U.S. dollar have allowed travelers to upgrade their Spring Break trips without breaking the bank, leading to a rise in travel abroad. In fact, 39 percent of travelers said they were looking for a Spring Break destination they have not been to before.


According to hotel booking data, the following destinations have seen a minimum of a 50 percent increase in hotel bookings over the last five years for the Spring Break timeframe (March 1 – April 15).

Rank City Growth Over Last Five Years 2016 Average Daily Hotel Rate 2016 Average 
1 Panama City, Panama   +476 % $ 113    $ 579  
2 Riviera Maya, Mexico   +178 % $ 370    $ 515  
3 Punta Cana, Dominican Republic   +132 % $  344   $ 606  
4 Playa Del Carmen, Mexico   +100 % $ 332    $ 515  
5 Dublin, Ireland   +87 % $ 163    $ 882  
6 Paris, France   +74 % $ 190    $ 955  
7 Toronto, Canada     +70 % $ 182   $   219  
8 Mesa, Ariz.     +70 % $ 144    $ 322  
9 Carlsbad, Calif.   +64 % $ 195    $ 334  
10 Houston, Texas   +60 % $ 167   $   294 experts have identified several factors driving the shift in Spring Break travel, from a strong U.S. dollar to evolving traveler priorities. Some of the top drivers changing behavior patterns include:

Mexico Remixed: While Cancun is a perennial favorite for Spring Break travelers, other destinations in Mexico including Riviera Maya and Playa Del Carmen have seen a large increase in bookings, showing that Spring Break travelers are still looking to Mexico for its short flights and affordable airfare and hotels, but opting for relaxation over crowds and fanfare.

Getting More for Your (U.S) Dollar: Panama City, Paris and Dublin are all locations that have seen an influx of travelers over the past several years. With favorable exchange rates across the board, travelers are able to extend the U.S. dollar and upgrade their domestic Spring Break vacations to an international trip.

Domestic Alternatives: Carlsbad, Calif. has become a more relaxing alternative to expensive, more crowded theme park destinations in the state. Mesa, Ariz. has seen an upswing in spring training fans over Spring Break, and Houston, Texas has shown that low gas prices can drive regional tourism and attract travelers hoping to cut costs.

North and South of the Border: Toronto is the leading tourism destination in Canada and according to Tourism Toronto, has seen strong growth over the past six years thanks to an influx of American tourists. In the South, Punta Cana takes the top spot with its commitment to strong yet affordable all-inclusive options.


New Spring Break destinations are growing in popularity, but traditional spring break favorites still remain tourist hotspots over the holiday. This year, Florida accounts for 40 percent of the top Spring Break destinations, with Fort Myers and Tampa joining Orlando and Miami in the top ten rankings. The top three spots also remain consistent with repeat performances from Orlando, Cancun and Las Vegas. This year, Orlando and Las Vegas traded rankings, with Orlando rising from third to first, Vegas dropping from first to third and Cancun holding on to second place for the second year in a row.

Rank City Average Daily Rate (Hotel)    Change YOY Average 
  Change YOY
1 Orlando, Fla.  $ 216     21 %  $ 311     -13 %
2 Cancun, Mexico  $ 335     6 %  $ 515     -7 %
3 Las Vegas, Nev.  $ 126     7 %  $ 311     -11 %
4 Phoenix, Ariz.  $ 174     -3 %  $ 322     -10 %
5 Los Angeles, Calif.  $ 184     17 %  $ 294     -20 %
6 Fort Myers, Fla.  $ 236     29 %  $ 339     -14 %
7 Chicago, Ill.  $ 170    flat  $ 208     -27 %
8 Tampa, Fla.  $ 154     3 %  $ 296     -11 %
9 Miami, Fla.  $ 228     4 %  $ 322     -16 %
10 New York City, N.Y.  $ 252     -4 %  $ 243     -21 %


Book a Spring Break vacation on and instantly save 15 percent off hotels using promotion code BEACHME in thousands of destinations around the world.5 Visit the Orbitz Travel Blog for more great Spring Break ideas.

1 Survey was wielded by with 804 respondents via Google Consumer Surveys from Jan. 26 – 28, 2016.
2 Survey was fielded by with 804 respondents via Google Consumer Surveys from Jan. 26 – 28, 2016. Top 10 emerging Spring Break destinations have seen a minimum of a 50 percent increase in hotel bookings made on from 2010 to 2015 for the Spring Break timeframe March 1 – April 15. Five year growth percentages based upon hotel bookings for March 1-April 15, 2010 and hotel bookings for March 1 – April 15, 2015.
4 Top Spring Break destinations data based on all hotel bookings (standalone and as part of a package) for travel booked during Spring Break from March 1- April 15, 2015 vs. March 1 – April 15, 2016.
5BEACHME: Book a qualifying hotel between February 22, 2016 12:01AM CT and March 13, 2016 11:59PM CT, for 1 or more nights for travel between February 22, 2016, and September 30, 2016, via Orbitz and instantly receive 15% off through the use of the promotion code. Limit one discount per hotel room and one promotion code per booking. Discount may not be used toward the booking of a vacation package. Discounts are not redeemable for cash for any reason. Promotion codes are non-transferable, not for resale, and cannot be combined with other offers. Any attempt at fraud will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Void where prohibited, taxed or restricted. Orbitz reserves the right to change or limit the promotion in its sole discretion. Most major chains are excluded.

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