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Here’s How the Pandemic Transformed Travel in 2020

As 2020 comes to a close, Priceline has looked at research for a retrospective on how travel was transformed by the coronavirus pandemic.

After looking at the year in review, Priceline’s data revealed that 2020 was certainly the year of the last-minute vacation with same-day car rentals skyrocketing, hotel booking windows shrinking and flight miles decreasing.


Rental car data showed that travelers were renting a car on the same day or the day prior to when they were traveling and booking one-way rentals more frequently than other years. The top five destinations for one-way bookings were Orlando to Tampa, Miami to Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles to San Francisco and Orlando to Fort Lauderdale.

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Flight booking windows also declined as advanced planning took a backseat to last-minute escapes. Priceline’s data found that more than 76 percent of flight bookings were made within a week (seven days) of the departure date in 2020.

Travelers were also taking shorter flights. The average distance traveled for roundtrip itineraries decreased by 20 percent in 2020 compared to the same period in 2019–1,307 miles versus 1,654.

Travel to Orlando was definitely popular. The most booked flight destinations in 2020 were Newark to Orlando, Dallas to Los Angeles, Chicago to Los Angeles, New York City to Orlando and Orlando to Philadelphia.

Similar to flights, Priceline’s research found that there was not a lot of pre-planning for hotel bookings. The average advanced purchase window decreased by 45 percent in 2020. On average, travelers booked their stay within a six to seven-day window of their check-in date.

The most popular destinations for hotel bookings were Las Vegas, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Orlando.

The most-searched-for destinations in 2020 were Las Vegas, Orlando, Miami, Atlanta and Los Angeles.

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