A new survey is predicting cheaper flights, last-minute travel and longer stays this holiday season in the US. Travel search site Kayak believes that many Americans may travel this holiday, but they just haven’t booked it yet.

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kayak's data indicates that travel interest for the winter holidays is seeing drastic declines. Domestic flight searches are down 81% and hotel searches are down 74% compared to the same time period last year. As the uncertainty around COVID-19 remains, it predicts a surge in travel planning won't be seen until much closer to the December holidays, and spontaneous trips will gain momentum.

A family at the airport wearing face masks
Domestic flight deals are available this year © FamVeld via Getty Images

Its search data suggests that extended stays will replace short getaways this year. With the majority of colleges wrapping up the semester mid-November and offices continuing to go virtual, holiday travel can start sooner and end later. Searches for alternative accommodations, such as cabins, chalets, cottages or RVs, are on the rise compared with 2019.

For those willing to travel, domestic flight prices are down nearly 16% year over year for the holidays. Cities in Florida lead with the biggest domestic flight deals. Major cities that typically lure US travelers are being replaced with warm weather destinations and ski towns. Denver, Salt Lake City, Cancun and Honolulu are among the top trending flight destinations compared to 2019.

“We believe Americans will travel this holiday season, it will just look different," says Steve Hafner, CEO of Kayak. "Expect domestic instead of international travel, longer trip lengths and last minute decisions. For those who feel comfortable flying and are flexible on routes and dates, there are deals to be had.” For more information on Kayak’s trend forecast, please see here.

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