Same-city stays and beaches in Portugal on the rise, according to Vrbo

Vrbo has been pairing homeowners with families and friends looking for places to stay since 1995. We know staying at vacation homes is a great way to have the space to drop the distractions of everyday life and simply be together. Some things never change when it comes to traveling with friends and family, but every year new trends arise as travelers discover new places and ways to travel. 

With data and insights from Vrbo’s global vacation rental marketplace, Vrbo identified where, how and why Americans will travel for vacation in 2020. The report is based on domestic and international Vrbo demand for the 12-month period ending August 31, 2019 (except as otherwise indicated). 

Up-and-coming travel destinations

Travelers are always looking for “off-the-beaten path” or “hidden gem” destinations for their next trip. From ghost towns to sea islands, outdoor destinations top the list of emerging domestic destinations on Vrbo. 

Vrbo’s top picks for up-and-coming destinations based on average annual demand: 

  1. Terlingua, TX +75%

  2. Bella Vista, AR +70%

  3. Westport, WA +60

  4. Cherry Log, GA +50%

  5. Edisto Island, SC +45%

Same-city stays

Same-city stays refer to people booking vacation rentals in their own city. The top single place that Chicago Vrbo renters come from is Chicago, and that rings true for a number of major American cities, including Philadelphia, Dallas and Atlanta. 

Another emerging travel phenomenon may come into play: cele-cations, when families and friends gather to celebrate special occasions. People who live in town may rent a vacation home to host and comfortably accommodate groups of guests for a holiday or a milestone life event. According to Vrbo’s 2019 US Traveler Survey of people who traveled to celebrate a special occasion: 

  • 34% attended a birthday, anniversary or similar milestone

  • 31% went to a family reunion 

  • 16% went to a wedding

Short-stay vacation destinations

More Americans are taking short-stay vacations of two or three days — likely an outgrowth of flexible time-off policies and prioritization of experiences with people over material goods. You don’t need to fly to your next destination — hop in the car for one of America’s favorite pastimes, the road trip, to the top five short-stay destinations. In fact, these places are all less than 300 miles away from the top origin markets that guests were traveling from.

Average demand growth:

  • St. Louis +65%

  • McCurtain County (Broken Bow), OK +50%

  • Newtown County, AR +50%

  • Grays Harbor County, WA +45%

  • Ruidoso, NM +30%    

Unusual accommodations

71% of millennial travelers say they’d consider staying at a non-traditional vacation rental. While beach houses, cabins and condos still reign supreme, travel demand for unusual accommodations is on the rise. Joining barns, castles and treehouses, travel demand for properties on wheels and properties that float is up 30% year over year on Vrbo, including houseboats, yachts, RVs and Airstreams. 

Hottest overseas beach destinations

Planning a beach trip in 2020? Take it overseas to Portugal. The country took three of the top five spots on Vrbo’s list of international beach destinations, based on vacation rental demand. Portugal is known for its affordability and for some of the best waves in Europe to “hang ten.” 

The five hottest overseas beach destinations on Vrbo:

  1. Chania, Greece

  2. Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal

  3. Porto, Portugal

  4. Lisbon, Portugal

  5. Catania, Italy

The annual report also dives into the top destinations, both domestically and internationally. 

Top US destinations:

  1. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN

  2. Gulf Shores, AK 

  3. Miramar and Rosemary Beach, FL 

  4. Panama City Beach, FL 

  5. Maui, HI

Top international destinations: 

  1. Puerto Peñasco, Mexico

  2. Paris, France

  3. London, England

  4. Rome, Italy

  5. Florence, Italy

For the full report and methodology, visit: https://www.vrbo.com/l/trend-report.