In economics, there are lead indicators and lag indicators. But often, the coincident indicators–stats that show the current state of the U.S. economy–tell the best stories.

The Conference Board reports that a record-high number of U.S. consumers are preparing to vacation to a foreign country within the next six months. That’s an all-time high for a stat kept since 1967. To my way of thinking, only a strong, confident consumer tends to make such ambitious travel preparations!

Financial headlines have warned about growing consumer credit card balances. You may have also seen concerns that U.S. consumers may not be as resilient in 2024. Since consumer spending is about 70 percent of gross domestic product, you can see why those headlines can be concerning.

If your household is like mine, you tend to save and prepare before taking vacations. They create family memories that just can’t be replaced. I feel encouraged that 22 percent of U.S. consumers are ready to travel abroad. It makes me think that those households have been good stewards of their personal finances in recent years, and they are confident about exploring the world.

So, where do we like to go?

The U.S. National Travel and Tourism Office and the Department of Commerce are like the statisticians of the travel ball game, confirming that Mexico and Canada are in a statistical tie for “America’s Favorite Vacation Spots.”

Euro-vacations are huge too, with the love spreading from the UK to Italy and France. According to Airlines for America, flights to these locales are packed with travel junkies.

A few international travel tips:

Always check the visa requirements for your destination well ahead of time. Different countries have varied entry regulations, and some may require you to apply for a visa months in advance.

Furthermore, stay informed about the local customs and etiquette of the places you’re visiting. Something as simple as a greeting or gesture can differ greatly from one culture to another. I think they should all relax, but unfortunately, I’m not always consulted. 😊

Make digital copies of important documents like your passport, travel insurance, and itineraries. Having backups on your email or cloud storage can be a lifesaver if you lose the original documents.

Finally, consider investing in good travel insurance. It’s not just about lost luggage; it’s also about health emergencies, unexpected trip cancellations, and more. Comprehensive coverage gives you peace of mind to fully enjoy your international escapade.

We always enjoy hearing about our client’s travel plans including trips to Egypt, scuba diving in Mexico and lots of pasta in Italy. Keep them coming! As long as we remain wanderer’s and economy cooperates more travel is likely to remain robust.