DALLASFeb. 21, 2023 With nearly 100 days between President’s Day and Memorial Day weekend, Americans are entering the longest stretch of the U.S. calendar without a federally sanctioned day off. This 3-day weekend drought leaves people parched for a getaway. New search data from Hotels.com shows a new trip type is quenching our thirst this spring: Thirst Trips, or short weekend stays that satisfy our desire for a day off by the pool.

“We’ve hit a point in the year when there’s no 3-day weekend on the office calendar, so many Americans have sort of conditioned themselves to hold out on making travel plans until Memorial Day weekend,” said Melanie Fish, head of Expedia Group brands public relations. “The trend is not waiting more than a quarter of the year to vacation. People are creating their own drought-breaking mini-vacations.”

Searches Soar While Travelers Plunge
Hotels.com is predicting that shorter, more frequent 2–3-day trips will gain popularity throughout the spring and summer. The majority of reservations on its mobile lodging app currently occur within a week or less of travel, and searches for long weekends are surging.

  • Americans’ vacation interests steadily increase after the start of the year. Searches on the travel brand’s site and app increase 10% month-over-month from January through April1, during the height of the travel holiday drought.
  • Google search trends confirm the trend, which show that interest in “weekend getaways” over the past two years hit their high point during the first few weeks of March 20222.
  • Average daily hotel rates on weekends during the upcoming 98-day holiday drought are 10% lower than the summer’s highs3.
  • Daily rates are the lowest during the first weekend in March, just before spring break season gets into full swing.

A deeper dive into search data on Hotels.com reveals a clear preference for one amenity in particular this spring: pools. Searches for hotels with pools increased by 35% or more from February through April on the Hotels.com app compared with the start of the year4. And poolside properties hit peak popularity the first week of March.

“There’s some irony in the fact that the longest holiday drought of the year sends us searching for relief by infinity pools, lazy rivers and swim-up bars,” said Fish.