Why traveling within the US could be cheaper than ever this summer

The Grand Canyon, Route 66, Mount Rushmore, the Golden Gate Bridge — these emblems of American travel have probably been on your bucket list since you first saw pictures of them on a classroom projector. But when are you actually going to get out and see the United States of America?

While finding cheap flights to Europe and last-minute Caribbean all-inclusive deals is temptingly doable for every long weekend, what if you stayed local and saw more of this expansive country? Well, 2017 may be the best time to do just that.

A new study by Foursquare found that international tourism to America has dropped by 11% and figures look grim for any increase in foreign visitors for the rest of this year. And while the lack of international tourism in the United States has certainly been hard on the hospitality industry, now is the time to book that flight to Orlando or schedule a road trip through Yellowstone and Yosemite.

Why? Rather than getting discouraged by an increasing lack in international spending, hotels, retailers and others in the industry might take advantage of this unfortunate slump to lure in more Americans to domestic destinations.

The beauty of the United States' National Parks
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The beauty of the United States' National Parks
Late afternoon view of Grand Canyon National Park, Cape Royal, North Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, USA, (Photo by Wild Horizons/UIG via Getty Images)
USA Hawaii Big Island - magma of the Halema'uma'u (in Caldera des Kilauea, Volcanoes National Park) (Photo by Rolf Schulten/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
Desert environment, Sand dunes, Stovepipe Wells, Death Valley national park, California, USA (Photo by: Geography Photos/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
A large container ship passes under the Golden Gate Bridge on April 1, 2014, in San Francisco, California. San Francisco continues to be a major global tourist destination and has experienced a real estate and high-tech boom in recent years. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming (Photo by ullstein bild via Getty Images)
Mount Rushmore National Memorial towers over the South Dakota landscape on October 1, 2013 near Keystone, South Dakota. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Spray from Oregon's most photographed waterfall, Proxy Falls, beautifies nearby logs and rocks with lush growths of moss, Three Sisters Wilderness, Willamette National Forest, Oregon, USA, (Photo by Wild Horizons/UIG via Getty Images)
USA, Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park, Teton Range, Pfeiffer's Homestead, Sagebrush. (Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)
USA, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, Upper Geyser Basin, Chromatic Springs. (Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)
 Fireworks explode over the Statue of Liberty in celebration of the anniversary of its dedication on October 28, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Bass Harbor Lighthouse. (Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)
USA, Alaska, Gates of the Arctic National Park, river valley with mountains in background. (Photo By DEA / M. SANTINI/De Agostini/Getty Images)
The sensitive ecological landscape of the Everglades National Park, home to many endangered and rare plants, is seen from the air on March 16, 2015 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
The moon and Venus shine beyond joshua trees under a storm-scoured sky in Joshua Tree National Monument, January 28, 2000, as a cold front moves out of southern California leaving snow in the desert and skies of blue. (Photo by David McNew/Newsmakers)
Because of excessive spring rains in 2005, the usually visible salt patterns in Badwater were covered with water for many weeks. (Photo by: MyLoupe/UIG via Getty Images)
USA, Northern California, Redwood National Park, Lady Bird Johnson Grove, Redwood Trees. (Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)
USA, Alaska, Near Seward, Kenai Fjords Np, View Of Kenai Mountains. (Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Foursquare CEO Jeff Glueck said via phone that the company looked at data in terms of the national economy, noting that "the retail sector is already under pressure" from online retailers and e-commerce specialists, like Amazon, who replace the need to actually go outside to get anything.

One thing you can't buy online: Experiences. (Well, you can book them from bed, but you need to get out to get that much-liked selfie in front of the Lincoln Memorial.)

"We have an enormous global community," Glueck said of Foursquare's users and the company's curiosity regarding how people are spending their time and where. Glueck, who said that he and his company do not take an official public policy stance, noted that California is down in tourism, likely thanks in part to visitors from Latin America not crossing the border "in this new climate."

Tourists from the Middle East — traditionally "large spenders" when abroad — are also lagging since President Donald Trump introduced his travel ban in January. With the U.S. dollar up, it's also more expensive than before for international travelers to visit and "further restrictions on foreign tourism aren't going to help," Glueck said.

Because international travelers aren't spending as much time or money in the U.S., Americans can take advantage of the need to fill National Parks, monuments and historic homes during peak season. "[This] may even open up less crowded travel opportunities for Americans," Glueck said.

As a "location intelligence company," Foursquare can't necessarily predict the future of travel, but its two apps, City Guide and Swarm, show data trends that travelers eager for a good deal should jump on. User data shows a pique in interest in domestic vacation destinations including Lake Tahoe, California; Newport, Rhode Island; Saratoga Springs, New York; Scottsdale, Arizona and the emerging food-loving neighborhood of Fishtown in Philadelphia.

Thanks to the competitive nature of the hospitality industry, more interest means more deals. Sarah Spagnolo, Foursquare's director of public relations, added that businesses in these destinations and beyond can use location intelligence to plan promotions, deals and other ways to attract visitors. So you can thank big data for that shockingly cheap bucket list getaway you're about to book this summer.

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