Best travel stocks

Looking to invest in the travel sector? Discover the best travel stocks and learn how to invest in them in a few short steps.

Best travel stocks See top stocks
How to buy travel stocks Step-by-step instructions

The travel industry has always been a powerhouse in the global economy. Just to give you an idea, in 2022, the sector contributed $7.7 trillion (around £6.1 trillion) to global gross domestic product (GDP), equal to 7.6%. And the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) forecasts this GDP contribution could more than double to an eye-popping $15.5 trillion (about £12.3 trillion) by 2033, amounting to 11.6% of the world’s economy.

Now, as with anything in life, there are no guarantees. But if these projections hit their mark or even come close, long-term investors who’ve hitched their wagon to the travel sector could be laughing all the way to the bank. With this in mind, here are the best travel stocks to consider for your portfolio.

What are the best travel stocks?

IconStock1 year performance (February 2024)5 year performance (February 2024)Link to invest
Chipotle Mexican Grill logoChipotle Mexican Grill (CMG)63.44%335.45%Invest with CMC InvestCapital at risk
booking logoBooking Holdings (BKNG)55.10%94.36%Invest with CMC InvestCapital at risk
Marriott International logoMarriott International (MAR)41.66%104.06%Invest with CMC InvestCapital at risk
Flutter Entertainment logoFlutter Entertainment (FLTR)35.35%178.91%Invest with XTBCapital at risk
Hilton logoHilton (HLT)28.97%135.06%Invest with CMC InvestCapital at risk
Airbnb logoAirbnb (ABNB)26.78%5.99%Invest with CMC InvestCapital at risk
Oriental Land logoOriental Land (4661)20.62%114.29%Invest with XTBCapital at risk
McDonalds logoMcDonald’s (MCD)8.74%60.84%Invest with CMC InvestCapital at risk
Yum logoYum! Brands (YUM)-1.70%38.41%Invest with XTBCapital at risk
Starbucks logoStarbucks (SBUX)-10.34%37.60%Invest with XTBCapital at risk

What are travel stocks?

Travel stocks are shares of companies that make money in travel. This is a broad sector that includes a wide range of companies, from those that provide direct transportation services to those that offer accommodation. There’s also firms that help people book for these services, acting as middlemen.

Types of travel stocks

Travel stocks come in various flavours, each offering a unique taste of the industry. The main players are:

  • Airlines. These are companies that operate passenger aircraft for domestic and international travel, e.g. International Consolidated Airlines (IAG) , easyJet (EZJ) and Ryanair.
  • Hotels and resorts. These are businesses that provide accommodation and other related services to travellers. Notable examples are Marriott International (MAR) and Hilton Worldwide (HLT).
  • Cruise lines. Companies in this segment offer travel and vacation experiences on ships. Examples are Carnival (CCL), Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL) and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH).
  • Travel agencies and booking platforms. These companies facilitate the booking of travel services including flights, hotels, and car rentals, primarily via online platforms. Some firms that fall into this category are On the Beach Group (OTB), Booking Holdings (BKNG), and Expedia Group (EXPE).

How to invest in travel stocks

  1. Open a sharing-dealing account. The first step in investing in travel stocks is to open a share trading account. Choose a platform that suits your needs, whether it’s one with robust research tools, low fees, or a user-friendly interface.
  2. Fund your account. Once your account is set up, deposit funds. You can do that via a bank transfer, debit card, or any other means allowed by your platform.
  3. Research and choose travel stocks. Research the best travel stocks for your portfolio (or pick a fund that invests in travel stocks), and search by company name or ticker symbol.
  4. Buy shares. Once you’ve found the travel stock you’re interested in, select the amount you want to invest and create an order to buy shares. And just like that, you’re now officially an investor in the travel sector.

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Why do people invest in travel stocks?

People gravitate towards travel stocks for a variety of reasons, here’s a rundown of the main areas:

  • Possible growth. One is the sector’s potential for growth. As globalisation increases and the middle class grows in many countries, more people are travelling for leisure and business, driving demand for travel-related services.
  • Sector resilience. A strong history of rebounding from economic downturns is another factor that draws investors to this sector. The recent pandemic presents a perfect example of the travel industry’s resilience. The ability of the travel industry to shake off rough patches makes it attractive for long-term investment strategies.
  • Diversity of options. Investment choice is another appealing factor. The variety within the travel sector – airlines, hotels, cruise lines, and travel booking companies – means investors can find stocks that align with their specific interests and investment strategies.
  • Dividend income. Some of the best travel stocks also offer dividends, which makes them an attractive option for income-seeking investors.
  • Personal interest. Certain investors are drawn to this sector out of a personal love for, or interest in, travel and tourism, making it a passion investment.

We asked Brits whether their investments were predominantly driven by financial reasons or passion for the company/industry. Here's the breakdown of those who are driven by passion.

Response%
75+ years2.36%
65-74 years10.63%
55-64 years15.75%
45-54 years15.75%
35-44 years16.14%
25-34 years22.44%
18-24 years16.93%
Source: Finder survey by Censuswide of 2,032 Brits

Risks of investing in travel stocks

Just like any adventure, it’s not always smooth sailing. Be wary of the following risks when investing in travel stocks:

  • Regulatory and geo-political risks. Changes in travel regulations, visa policies, and political instability in popular destinations can disrupt the operations of travel companies. This can negatively affect the top and bottom line.
  • Economic sensitivity. The travel industry is highly sensitive to economic cycles. In times of economic downturn, travel is often one of the first sectors to be impacted as people tighten their belts.
  • Operational Risks. Examples of operational risks that can affect the travel industry are fluctuating fuel prices or labour disputes. Like regulatory changes and geo-political risks, these can also impact the operations of travel companies and their profitability.
  • Sensitivity to global events. Events like pandemics or natural disasters can have immediate and severe negative effects on the travel sector. Flights to popular destinations might be suspended, for example.
  • Environmental concerns. Increasing regulations and a growing awareness of environmental issues can mean new challenges and costs for travel companies, particularly airlines.

Expert comment - What’s the best region for travel stocks?

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George Sweeney

Deputy editor

The US usually takes the limelight for most investing sectors, but Europe has plenty to offer when it comes to travel stocks. Along with having plenty of hotel chains, cruise companies and travel firms - Europe is home to major manufacturers like Airbus (the largest aeroplane manufacturer in the world).

Europe is also the base for well-established airline companies and popular travel stocks like Ryanair, Deutsche Lufthansa, International Airlines Group and Tui (which does a bit of everything). So, don’t be afraid to look closer to home if searching high and low for the best travel stocks.

Alternative ways to invest in travel stocks

Venturing into travel stocks doesn’t always mean buying individual company shares. Here are several other ways to invest in the best travel stocks:

  • Exchange-traded funds (ETFs). ETFs bundle various travel-related stocks together, offering diversification and reducing the risk that comes with investing in just a single stock.
  • Mutual funds. Some mutual funds specialise in the travel industry or include travel stocks as part of a diversified portfolio. They are another way to get exposure to the industry.
  • Investment trusts. These are pooled investments that can include travel stocks. This offers another diversified way to benefit from the growth prospects of the travel industry with expert management (that comes with a fee).

All investing should be regarded as longer term. The value of your investments can go up and down, and you may get back less than you invest. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. If you’re not sure which investments are right for you, please seek out a financial adviser. Capital at risk.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • It’s an industry with huge growth prospects
  • Strong history of resilience and recovery
  • Lots of different stocks to choose from
  • Exposure to global markets and companies
  • Potential for dividends

Cons

  • Vulnerable to economic downturns
  • Sensitive to global events
  • Can be affected by regulatory changes

Compare platforms to buy travel stocks

Name Product Finder score Min. initial deposit Price per trade Frequent trader rate Platform fees Offer Link
Finder Award
OFFER
CMC Invest share dealing account
4.4
★★★★★
£0
£0
N/A
£0
Earn up to £1,000 when you transfer a minimum of £25,000 into your CMC account, plus get your first 3 months free when you upgrade to Plus plan. T&Cs apply. Capital at risk.

Capital at risk

Platform details
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FREE TRADES
eToro Free Stocks
4.4
★★★★★
$100
£0 on stocks
N/A
£0

Capital at risk. Other fees apply.

Platform details
InvestEngine
4.3
★★★★★
£100
£0
N/A
0% - 0.25%
Get a Welcome Bonus of up to £50 when you invest at least £100 with InvestEngine. T&Cs apply.

Capital at risk

Platform details
XTB
4.3
★★★★★
£0
£0
£0
£0
Earn up to 4.9% interest on uninvested cash. Tiered interest rate structure applies depending on value of existing assets.

Capital at risk

Platform details
Halifax share dealing account
4.2
★★★★★
£20
£9.50
£2
£36 per year

Capital at risk

Platform details
Hargreaves Lansdown Fund and Share Account
4.2
★★★★★
£1
£11.95
£5.95
£0

Capital at risk

Platform details
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All investing should be regarded as longer term. The value of your investments can go up and down, and you may get back less than you invest. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. If you’re not sure which investments are right for you, please seek out a financial adviser. Capital at risk.

Bottom line

Investing in travel stocks means tapping into an industry with huge growth prospects, not to mention one of the most historically resilient sectors.

Just keep in mind there’s never a guarantee for positive returns when it comes to investing, even if you find the best travel stocks on the plant. Make sure to research your investments before you put your hard-earned cash in them.

Frequently asked questions

Browse all travel stock guides

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