Top flight destination searches on Google in 2023

With busy airports, full flights and the ending of most travel restrictions, 2023 marked a return to travel, mostly as we knew it before the pandemic began. Nearly every peak travel period in 2023 broke air travel records, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. An estimated record-breaking 4.7 billion people are expected to travel in 2024, according to the International Air Transport Association.

“People love to travel and that has helped airlines to come roaring back to pre-pandemic levels of connectivity,” Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general, said in a news release.

Where are travelers going or looking to go? We turned to Google’s Destination Insights tool to find out what places travelers were searching for the most in 2023. No surprise to us — five of the countries landed on TPG’s list of the 16 best places to travel in 2024. If you’re feeling some wanderlust and looking for inspiration on where to go in 2024, here’s what we found.

Google’s most searched flights worldwide by destination country

Note: We searched for data from Jan. 1 to Dec. 11 for U.S. travelers looking for international trips by air. Puerto Rico ranked fourth using Google’s tool, but since Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, it is a domestic destination for U.S. citizens. So we’ve added in what was No. 11 on Google’s tool.

10. Costa Rica

The Rio Celeste waterfall in Costa Rica’s Tenorio Volcano National Park. MATTEO COLOMBO/GETTY IMAGES

This Central American country is well known for “pura vida,” the simple way of life, and it comes in at No. 10 on the list. Thanks to the beaches, volcanoes, rainforests and wildlife, you can be active and adventurous, kick back and relax, or do some combination of the two in Costa Rica. New eco-resorts combine sustainability and luxury, and there are many hotel options for redeeming points. Also, flights from the U.S. to San Jose and Liberia are available from all of the major airlines.

Related: Epic wildlife and sustainable luxury define travel to Costa Rica in 2024

9. Spain


Spain has no shortage of great cities, with Barcelona, Madrid and Seville as highly sought-after destinations. Additionally, Spanish food is among the world’s best, from tapas and gazpacho to paella and churros. Using Iberia Avios for business class from the U.S. East Coast to Madrid is one of the best sweet spots in points and miles. Start planning your trip by first figuring out the best time to visit.

Related: How to book Iberia flights to Spain (and beyond) using Avios

8. Jamaica


Jamaica is an ideal destination for travelers looking for a warm-weather beach vacation, from couples and families to singles and groups of friends. Many visitors stick to the all-inclusive resorts in Montego Bay or Negril, but the country offers lots of activities and sights to see, including visiting waterfalls and going river rafting.

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Related: An insider’s guide to what to see and do in Jamaica with a family

7. Dominican Republic


Next, we have another island destination. (Are you seeing a trend here?) U.S. travelers definitely seem to like short flights to places with sunny skies, white-sand beaches and all-inclusive resorts. In the Dominican Republic, you can explore some of the country’s more than 2,000 beaches on the Caribbean and Atlantic coastlines, hike or zip line in the Anamuya Mountains near Punta Cana or visit the 27 Waterfalls of Damajagua near Puerto Plata.

Related: Best all-inclusive resorts in the Dominican Republic

6. Italy


Ready for a little of “la dolce vita?” You’re not alone in wanting to experience “the sweet life” in the form of a trip to Italy. Whether you dream of sampling wine in Tuscany, doing some high-end shopping in Milan, seeing all of the historical sites in Rome, or just eating all the pasta, pizza and gelato that you can, we get it. You can redeem Virgin Atlantic points to get there in style and comfort by flying business class on Italy’s newest carrier, ITA Airways.

Related: 7 underrated places in Italy

5. France


Between the 2024 Summer Olympics and events commemorating the 80th anniversary of D-Day in the Normandy region, many travelers will board flights to France in the upcoming months, so it’s easy to see why this country ranked high in Google searches. Paris is a big bucket list destination for lots of vacationers, even in years that don’t have a huge global event like the Olympics. However, there’s so much more to explore in France besides Paris. You can picture yourself in a Disney fairy tale in the Alsace region, venture out to the wineries in Bordeaux or have some fun in the sun on the French Riviera.

Related: 2024 will be a year of commemorations and competitions in France

4. India


A visit to India to see the Taj Mahal, one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World, is a goal for many travelers. And beyond that magnificent site, India has vibrant, colorful cities, pristine beaches and lots of cultural traditions to experience. India can be an overwhelming destination, so it’s best to do lots of research and planning before traveling there. Points enthusiasts will be pleased to know the country has World of Hyatt’s only Category 1 Park Hyatt.

Related: The best ways to fly to India with points and miles

3. United Kingdom


Like Paris, London is considered a must-see European city for many travelers. The U.K. ranked third in Google’s most searched destinations by country. However, when narrowing down further to cities, London came in at the top of the list, which indicates there is a lot of interest. Of course, there is plenty to see and do in London, but don’t forget about visiting the rest of England, along with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Related: 27 of the best free things to do in London

2. Canada

Lake Louise in Banff National Park, Canada. SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

From its beautiful national parks, like Jasper and Banff, to some of the world’s top cities, like Vancouver and Toronto, Canada provides a host of interesting places to visit. Its proximity to the U.S. makes for short travel from many locations. It makes both a great winter destination, especially if you enjoy skiing and snowboarding, and a fantastic summer vacation for hiking and biking. On your next trip to Canada, consider a visit to one of the country’s smaller cities, like Victoria, Yellowknife or Halifax.

Related: Booking low-cost flights to and around Canada with Aeroplan

1. Mexico


An easy getaway for many U.S. travelers, Mexico has something for everyone. There are picturesque beaches, all-inclusive resorts for all types of budgets, Mayan ruins and archeological sites, and lots of lively cities. Just deciding where to go can be the hardest part. When narrowing down Google’s most searched international destinations to cities, Cancun ranked third, and Mexico City ranked eighth. With the new airport in Tulum and newer resorts available for booking with points, like the Secrets Tulum Resort & Beach Club and the Hilton Tulum Riviera Maya All-Inclusive Resort, we predict more travelers will head there in 2024.

Related: These are the best times to visit Mexico

A quick look at Google’s most searched US destinations


Google’s Destination Insights tool isn’t just limited to international destinations. We also searched domestic destinations to see what ranked among the top flight searches for 2023, and the results were as follows from 1 to 10:

  • Las Vegas
  • New York
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • Orlando
  • Honolulu
  • Chicago
  • Denver
  • Atlanta
  • Phoenix

Bottom line

In IATA’s November passenger polling data, one-third of travelers said they were traveling more than they did pre-pandemic. Almost half said their travel habits are once again similar to pre-pandemic. And just 18% said they were traveling less. Looking into 2024, 44% said they will travel more in the next 12 months compared to the previous 12 months. So expect crowds to remain.

We can’t pinpoint the reasons for Google flight searches for either domestic or international travel as they could be for a myriad of reasons beyond vacations or leisure travel, such as for business or visiting family. Hopefully, this gives you some ideas on where you might want to plan future travel — or even inspires you to find lesser-known destinations that may have fewer crowds.

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