This State Spends More on Vacations Than Anywhere Else in the US

Bonnie Lake, Chickaloon, Alaska
Bonnie Lake, Chickaloon, Alaska | © Cecil Sanders/Flickr
Elizabeth Nicholas

If asked to guess the U.S. state that spends the most on vacation on average, it might be tempting to jump first to states with lots of wealthy residents, like New York, Texas, or California.

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As frequent travelers know, those above-namecd cities are actually often the least expensive to fly in and out of. Competition on multiple routes with multiple airlines often means that big, flush cities can offer rock-bottom prices on both foreign and domestic air travel.


Distance can play a role too in how much a traveler has to fork over for airfare. And with that in mind, it should come as less of a surprise that the state that spends the most on vacations is Alaska, where residents spend an average of $851 on domestic vacations and $4,778 on international travel, according to a new study by RewardExpert.

Surprisingly, Alaska’s first place finish wasn’t due entirely to its airfare budget; the state took third in the overall transportation spending category, behind Maryland and the District of Columbia, which spent $344 and $323 on transportation, respectively. This compared to Alaska’s $314 (Anyone who has ever purchased an astronomically expensive last-minute Acela train ticket from the D.C. area might have an idea of why those along the Acela corridor came in first in transportation costs).

The states with the next-highest level of expenditures on travel were New Hampshire, Maryland, Connecticut, and (not quite a state) D.C. The states where residents spend the least amount of money on travel were Mississippi, Kentucky, Arkansas, West Virginia, and Alabama.

The fact that all of these states are among the lowest-income states in the country, and the fact that many of the states with residents spending the most money on travel are some of the higher-income states, does indicate that high travel spending may be correlated more with ability to pay than it does cost of travel or preferences. With the average cost of an international trip at $3,583 and the median household income in Mississippi at $36,919 per year, it stands to reason that Mississippians would spend less of their money on international travel than would someone from the District of Columbia, where the median income is $75,628.

Another interesting data point to come out of the survey is the significant cost difference between international and domestic travel for Americans. The average cost of a domestic trip was $630 throughout the U.S., while the average amount Americans spent on an international trip came in at $3,583.

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