Last week marked the end of summer, and summer travel, so we looked at consumer travel destinations in the busiest month of summer: August. After analyzing the top ten emerging travel hotspots booked worldwide, we found that Huntsville, Alabama had the largest increase in flight bookings since our last installment, attracting nearly 7x the travelers as it did in July. Read on to see what August’s hottest places to travel were.  

Top ten domestic travel destinations booked in August

We analyzed online flight purchases on Expedia, Orbitz and United in August to detect domestic and international destination hotspots by month-over-month changes in online purchases. Our data revealed that Huntsville, AL claimed first place for MoM changes, and Lexington, CA, a ghost town in Santa Clara county, took second place with a 150 percent increase in the amount of flights booked since last month. 

Top 10 domestic travel destinations in August by MoM changes:

# Destination MoM Change
1 Huntsville, AL 686%
2 Lexington, CA 150%
3 Sioux Falls, SD 123%
4 Springfield, MA 106%
5 Palm Springs, CA 82%
6 Little Rock, AR 76%
7 Sarasota, FL 75%
8 Santa Barbara, CA 72%
9 Birmingham, AL 69%
10 West Palm Beach, FL 56%

Palm Springs, CA was last month’s biggest loser, however flight purchases to the destination increased by 82 percent during August. As for this month’s biggest losers, Bozeman, MT took first place with nearly half the flights booked in August compared to July

Leading domestic destinations by MoM decrease in bookings:

# Destination MoM Change
1 Bozeman, MT -46%
2 Greer, SC -41%
3 Grand Rapids, MI -40%
4 Lihue, HI -37%
5 Syracuse, NY -36%
6 Portland, OR -28%
7 Columbia, MO -26%
8 Salt Lake City, UT -25%
9 Burlington, NK -23%
10 Long Beach, CA -23%

International travel: Top 10 emerging destinations in August

The leading international travel destinations included a mix of vacation go-tos, as well as some surprises. Traditional travel spots like Ecuador and the Bahamas more than doubled the volume of flights purchased since July.

Despite ongoing political and economic turmoil, Russia made the list with a 49 percent increase in bookings MoM. Another interesting finding is that flights booked to Turkey increased by 82 percent since July, when the attempted coup took place. These findings suggest that crises may actually increase travel, as savvy travelers take advantage of the lowered prices and currency rates that follow.

Top 10 international destinations by MoM changes:

# Country MoM Change
1 Belgium 175%
2 Serbia 150%
3 United Arab Emirates 142%
4 Ecuador 129%
5 Bahamas 104%
6 Honduras 84%
7 Turkey 82%
8 Sweden 54%
9 Russia 49%
10 Jamaica 48%

Bottom Line: Globalization has made travel mainstream, so “emerging travel hotspots” is true to its name. This month we’ve found a couple of surprises, both within the U.S and out. We also found evidence that economical and political crises might actually attract more tourists than deter them. We will continue to analyze online travel trends and report on emerging hotspots next month, so stay tuned!