Travel is back! Polarsteps reveals surprising destination trends as it reaches 4 million users milestone

Leading travel app Polarsteps, which reached four million users this month, confirms that travel is back, but not as we knew it — with surprising travel trends being revealed among its intrepid users. “Travel stats have shown that the biggest destination recovery by far is within the Nordic nations, with figures for Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden all remarkably climbing to more than double what they were in the same period pre-Covid,” says Polarsteps CEO and co-founder Maximiliano Neustadt. “Looking at the total numbers of travelers visiting destinations outside of Europe, the US is dominating the long-haul market, attracting more than three times as many visitors as any other country.”

When analyzing its global travel data from trips undertaken by Dutch, German, French, Belgian, and British travelers in April and May 2022 compared to the same months in 2019, Polarsteps discovered the most significant positive swings in Nordic nations: Iceland's numbers were up 184% compared to pre-Covid, with Norway (154%), Sweden (126%), and Denmark (117%) closely behind. And with thousands of the app's users planning future travel within the app, Polarsteps can also see that this trend looks set to continue for at least the next nine months.

While no other region in Europe came anywhere close to these figures, many traditionally popular travel destinations such as France, Italy, Spain, Greece, and Croatia have shown returns to at least pre-Covid levels. As did Portugal, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.

“We are incredibly excited to see these numbers,” says Polarsteps CEO and co-founder Maximiliano Neustadt. “Despite two very tough years for the travel industry, we’ve grown with over a million new users and are already seeing record activity numbers across the board — we are now gearing up for our busiest summer yet. We are so thankful to see both new and existing users finding their way to our app to plan, track, and relive their travels, and see them exploring the world again.”

With people still traveling closer to home due to lingering uncertainty about the pandemic, long-haul travel is taking longer to recover. The biggest recovery is seen in North America, where figures for Canada and the US are both within 20% of pre-Covid levels. This, combined with lagging rebounds in Asia, Africa, Australia, and South America, has translated to the US being the most-visited destination overseas in April and May 2022 by far. Polarsteps' data shows that this trend looks set to continue, with more trips planned in the US than in any other country in the world for the foreseeable future.

Strikingly, when honing in from country-level destination data to more detailed local figures, Polarsteps discovered an even more focused trend from its Dutch travelers (close to 40% of Polarsteps’ users) — the top 5 global destinations outside of Europe in terms of recovery (Apr–May 2019 to Apr–May 2022) were all in the western regions of the USA and Canada.

Top 5 destinations outside of Europe:

1. Las Vegas (USA)

2. San Francisco (USA)

3. Los Angeles (USA)

4. Vancouver (CAN)

5. Grand Canyon (USA)

“The resurgence of travel to these iconic places in western North America should not come as a surprise given the diverse riches within each of them,” says Polarsteps managing travel editor Matt Phillips. “For instance, the glittery adult playground of Las Vegas may be famed for its gaming, never-ending nightlife, and hedonism, but it’s equally rewarding as a springboard to natural wonders. And Vancouver’s sea-to-sky bounty of beaches, forests, and mountains is boosted by cosmopolitan culture, towering skylines, and mouthwatering cuisine. We’ve also found that our travel Guides to these destinations are proving more and more popular, with users embracing them to discover exciting new sides of these ever-evolving places.”

Polarsteps believes that adventure — that inexplicable and magical thing — truly matters. Whether it’s a six-month road trip across the USA and Canada or a last-minute weekend canoe trip, travel is worthwhile and good for the soul, feeding our curiosity, offering new perspectives, and connecting us to something bigger than ourselves. Travel also has the potential to have a positive impact in the communities and environments that host it, and Polarsteps continues to hope for a resurgence of responsible travelers heading back to areas outside of North America and Europe in the year ahead.

“Seeing the app growing faster than ever before and surging past the four million user milestone is a signal to us that the world is truly eager to travel again," says Maximiliano Neustadt. "We're very excited and can't wait to see where all these travelers will be heading to next."

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About Polarsteps

About Polarsteps
Polarsteps is helping over 4 million travelers across the world to plan, track, and relive their trips. The Amsterdam scale-up was founded in 2015 by a team of avid travelers with a passion for smart technology and cool design. The all-in-one travel app makes every part of the journey easier and more enjoyable: from the very first spark of travel inspiration to reliving it when it’s all over and done. The goal? To inspire and connect people across the globe through travel — so that everyone can express their wanderlust in a beautiful (and responsible) way.

Polarsteps is available for free in the App Store and Google Play store, or visit polarsteps.com.

Polarsteps – Make your way in the world


About the app
Easily use your travel bucket list to plan a trip and build your own editable itinerary. Once you're there, let us take over and plot your path on a digital world map that you can fill with your own photos, videos, and thoughts. Want to share your journey? Simply invite your loved ones along for the virtual ride. Finally, at the end of it all, you can create a beautifully designed Travel Book with the push of a button – turning your travel moments (the good, the bad, and everything in between) into lifetime memories.

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