Personal Travel Trends 2023

Personal Travel Trends 2023: Year in Review

Gabby Epstein

21 Dec 2023
5 minute read

Record-breaking travel dominated the headlines in 2023 — across the summer, holiday weekends, or the end-of-year holiday season. So just how big were these numbers?

Navan has been tracking trends in leisure travel ever since we launched our personal travel platform in June 2021. To get a better idea of how travel has changed over the past year, we analyzed personal travel bookings made from Aug 1, 2022 – Nov 16, 2023, with a trip start date of Jan 1, 2023 – Dec 31, 2023.

Here’s what we found.

Booking Prices

Flight booking prices saw a return to pre-pandemic levels, with the average U.S. domestic flight booking price of $461 — up $26 from the 2019 average of $435. Nevertheless, the volume of total personal travel bookings in 2023 was up 10% year-over-year.

Personal Travel Bookings

Hello, Blended Travel

The most popular days of the week to depart on a personal travel trip in 2023 were Friday and Thursday. The least popular days to fly were Tuesday and Monday.

Personal Travel Bookings by start date

Before the rise of remote and hybrid work, the plurality of leisure bookings (25%) departed on a Friday, as most workers were tied to an office. However, over the course of the pandemic, Navan saw the share of the day of the week departures become more distributed as the ability to work remotely led to a rise in blended/bleisure travel (up 76% YoY in 2023). 

In 2023, Friday remained the most popular trip start departure day for US domestic flights in 2023; however, Friday departures are down 4 percentage points from 2019, and now sit at 21%. Meanwhile, Wednesday departures for personal travel are up 2 percentage points. Monday and Tuesday departures are also up 1pp each.

How Travelers Saved Most in 2023

Travelers who booked their trips on a Friday ($437 avg) saw the most savings — an avg. of $60 per booking — followed by those who booked on Wednesdays ($442 avg). The most expensive days to book a personal trip in 2023 were Sunday ($497 avg.) and Saturday ($481 avg.).

And for travelers looking for even more ways to save — or companies looking to cut down travel costs while maintaining a good employee experience — Navan has your back. 

Launched in May 2023, Navan Rewards is a new employee incentive program where employees are rewarded with personal travel credits for making price-conscious business travel booking decisions.

The average Navan Rewards redemption value was consistently rising in 2023, topping out at $100 on average, up $71 from the average following the initial launch.

Navan Rewards Graph

How to Save on Leisure Travel in 2024

Day of Week

For those looking to save on travel in the new year, the cheapest day of the week to depart for a U.S. domestic flight is Thursday, which has an average round-trip booking price of $328; followed by Wednesday, which has an average of $351. 

Thursday is also the cheapest day to fly from the U.S. internationally, with flights averaging $1,342; followed by Tuesdays, which have an average flight booking price of $1,376.

The most expensive days to depart from the U.S. internationally are Sundays ($2,423 average) and Saturdays ($2,355 average). Prices on these days are more than $1,000 higher on average.

Urban Metros Reign Supreme; Smaller Up-and-Comers Coming in Hot

The top five personal travel destinations of 2023 for travelers with a U.S. origin were New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Chicago.

Bustling metropolises like these claimed most of the top 20 spots. But smaller, up-and-coming hot spots trended upward this year. Philadelphia jumped 3 spots to No. 26; Raleigh was also up 3 spots to No. 29, St. Louis moved up 8 spots to No. 39, Kansas City gained a whopping 11 spots to reach No. 44, and Indianapolis climbed 5 spots to No. 45.

International destinations on this year’s top 50 list include London (No. 20), Toronto (No. 32), Cancun (No. 35), Paris (No. 43), Vancouver (No. 46), and San Jose Del Cabo (No. 50).

Top Personal Travel Destinations

2023’s Rising Stars

Some destinations saw a dramatic growth in visitors — up to 2X year-over-year, according to Navan data. 

One factor: Asia reopened its doors to travelers in late 2022, causing a massive influx of travelers — year-over-year booking count growth was 205% in Japan, 64% in Singapore, and 61% in Manila.

Trending 2023 Destinations

2023’s Less Popular Destinations

While Asia rose in popularity, other spots weren’t as lucky. Some destinations saw dramatic decreases in year-over-year bookings, like San Jose, CR (-88%); Portland, ME (-79%); and Kahului, HI (-44%). Other vacation hot spots, like Kona, HI (-36%); Santa Barbara, CA (-36%); and Lisbon, PT (-34%) saw less extreme drops.

Less Popular Destinations


Rising booking prices and record-breaking travel helped define personal travel patterns in 2023. But despite higher fares and crowded airports, even more travelers are hitting the road. It’s more important than ever to know that you’re getting the best value and the strongest support. 

Navan can help manage business, personal, and blended travel all in one place. Whichever destination you’re planning on traveling to, see for yourself how Navan makes personal travel easy and convenient when booking your next adventure.

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Navan analyzed leisure travel booking data with a start date of January 1, 2023 to November 16, 2023, and a booking window of August 1, 2022 through the third Thursday of November 2023, and compared that to the average booking prices for the equivalent trip dates the year prior. Navan also looked at personal booking data with a start date of January 1, 2023 to December 31, 2023, as compared to personal booking data with a start date of January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022.

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