COVID-19 restrictions. Flight cancellations. Rising costs. As of late, American travelers have been dealt a tricky hand when it comes to realizing their bucket-list trip dreams. Indeed, planning a once-in-a-lifetime trip nowadays takes patience, persistence—and sometimes, a pretty penny.
And yet, nearly half (41%) of American travelers said they’re planning a bucket-list trip in the year ahead, according to a recent survey of more than 1,800 U.S.-based TripIt users. That’s up 15% from survey data we released in March 2021, when 26% of American travelers told us they were planning a bucket-list trip.
Of those planning bucket-list trips, more than half (57%) of travelers have international destinations in mind. The top destination? Europe, of course. Nearly a third (30%) are planning trips there.
As for the cost of bucket-list trips? The majority (62%) said they will be more expensive than a normal trip—for most (47%) in the range of $1,000 to $5,000 more.
Top European destinations for Americans’ bucket-list trips
With nearly one in three bucket-list trippers heading to Europe, almost every country in the region can expect American travelers in the year ahead. However, there are 10 countries that will rise above the rest.
Travelers told us that destinations like the Amalfi Coast, the island of Sicily, as well as the cities of Florence, Milan, Rome, and Venice are all on their bucket-list itineraries to Italy.
Cities like Avignon, Paris, and Strasbourg all make the (bucket) list for Americans headed to France.
- United Kingdom
While some travelers told us they’re focused on just one destination—e.g., St. Andrews, Scotland—others plan to experience the diversity of the U.K. and explore England, Scotland, and Wales in one go.
Travelers headed to Spain for bucket-list trips have cities like Granada and Madrid on their itineraries.
DYK? Granada, Spain ranked #2 in our top 10 safest cities for LGBTQ+ travelers. Find out more >
Whether for destination weddings or soaking in the shoulder-season sun, Americans plan to head to Greece for bucket-list adventures.
Germany is a year-round destination for many Americans: travelers told us they plan to head there this summer, fall, and winter—as well as for business and solo trips.
Many travelers told us they have their eye on Ireland for bucket-list trips this fall.
A budget-friendly destination, Portugal will be popular with Americans this summer and fall.
Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital city, is a top destination for Americans checking this country off their bucket list.
Another all-season destination, Croatia will see many Americans heading there for bucket-list trips in the year ahead.
Tips and tools for international travel
We’ve rounded up some helpful tips and tools to help make your international bucket-list trips go as close to plan as possible.
For determining what you need ahead of your trip abroad…
TripIt Pro’s International Travel Tools make international travel easier by showing details such as embassy information, driving guidance, socket and plug requirements, required vaccinations, and more.
You can find these tools in the Pro tab of the app, or by tapping the three dots at top right of your international itinerary.
For paying in the local currency…
Americans heading to many parts of Europe soon will benefit from a 1:1 exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and Euro. This is the first time there’s been parity in 20 years.
Not sure what the currency is at your destination? Consult TripIt Pro’s International Travel Tools for the local currency and latest exchange rate. The tool also includes guidance for tipping at your destination.
Want to really maximize your dollar? Order foreign currency at your home bank instead of exchanging it upon arrival to get a better rate and lower fees. Keep in mind your bank may need to order the money, which can take a few days, so plan accordingly.
For crossing borders…
While most European countries have dropped entry requirements related to COVID-19, there are still a few (e.g., France and Spain, as of publication) that require Americans (and other travelers) to show proof of vaccination, a negative COVID-19 test result, and so on. For the latest information on entry requirements at your destination, consult TripIt’s COVID-19 travel guidance feature.
COVID-19 documents aside, be sure to also look into what’s needed to enter your destination country, e.g., valid passport, entry visa, and so on. Most countries require a U.S. passport to have at least three- or six-months validity.
Need to renew your passport? As of publication, the wait time is 8 to 11 weeks. You can put a rush on your passport renewal—but keep in mind that it will cost you.
So, if you were looking for a sign, this is it: check your passport expiration date—now! Go ahead, we’ll wait. (And remember that you don’t need to wait until your passport expires to order a new one.)
For learning about delays, cancellations, and alternate flights…
Flight disruptions, including those in Europe, have been well publicized this summer. And it’s unlikely things will get better soon. With TripIt Pro, you can be among the first to know about flight delays, cancellations, gate changes, and more.
If your flight is delayed or canceled, consult TripIt Pro’s Alternate Flights feature to help you figure out what your options are for getting on a different flight. The feature instantly finds you new flight options if your current flight has been delayed, canceled, or you’d just like to leave on another flight.
To access Alternate Flights, open an upcoming trip, tap on the flight, then tap Alternate Flights located under TripIt Pro. Then you can search for alternative flights. You can also select Alternate Flights from the Pro tab.
For claiming compensation for delayed, canceled, or overbooked flights…
If you experience a flight disruption while on your bucket-list (or other) trip to Europe, TripIt can help! We've partnered with AirHelp—a company that specializes in helping air passengers claim compensation for eligible delayed, canceled, and overbooked flights to/from/within the European Union (EU) and Brazil thanks to local consumer protection regulations.
Here’s how it works: TripIt will automatically email you if your flight may be eligible for compensation and help you file a claim through AirHelp. Once your claim is filed, AirHelp does the rest of the hard work for you, including the paperwork and communication with the airlines—helping you claim compensation for your inconvenience.
With more than 16 million travelers helped, AirHelp has the resources and expertise to handle the complex claim process. For more information, visit AirHelp.
For tracking down lost luggage…
We wouldn’t wish lost luggage on anyone (we know—we’ve been there!), but when the unexpected happens, there are definitely some immediate steps you should take to track down your bags.
First and foremost, contact the airline. Don’t leave the airport until you speak with an airline representative. Speaking with the baggage claim or check-in desk agent is your fastest option for tracking down your bag(s). Call the airline if you cannot find an airline representative. When applicable, complete any airline forms to submit your claim while you are at the airport.
Want more tips? Check out these other steps you can take when your luggage is lost.
Methodology: TripIt surveyed more than 1,800 U.S.-based users to understand their upcoming travel plans, plus their attitudes and behaviors with respect to rising costs. The survey took place May 24 – June 1, 2022.