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What Does Domestic Travel Mean? Definition + Examples

What does domestic travel mean? You are about to find out in a variety of ways, including examples and types to help you understand the difference between domestic and international trips.

Traveling domestically is what many people do to get from one place to another. The definition is any journey that doesn’t cross an international border or any trip within a country that does not include traveling outside its borders.

These are also what I would call ‘local’ trips. This type of travel can be done on foot, by car, boat, airplane, train, or bus.

Renting a car for the weekend may be what you need if you want to explore someplace new in your state or province while still staying close to your home base and all your familiar comforts.

If you’re worried about getting lost in the big scary world of adventure then this might just be what’s right for you. You’ll have plenty of time to get your bearings while visiting what some would call the “greater metro area.”

Domestic Travel Meaning & Definition

People Walking Through an Airport for Domestic Travel

Domestic travel is any type of travel restricted to the United States. More simply, traveling domestically means all mobility that takes place in the country versus outside of it. 

That being said, while most people don’t classify this type of trip as “travel within their own country”, it’s still important to understand that there are some locales in America—specifically, Hawaii and Puerto Rico—that are outside the borders of one or more other American territories.

There may also be a time when a person goes from abroad to Canada and uses a credit card for expenses or withdraws money from an ATM or performs transactions at a Canadian bank.

Nevertheless, if they only cross the border but stay exclusively within Canada, then the trips within Canada will be considered traveling domestically.

Domestic Travel Examples

As for what examples can be considered domestic travel, here are a few that come to mind:

  • A flight from Atlanta to Dallas, then into New York City is considered domestic air travel because it’s the same country, the US
  • A flight from Los Angeles to Cancun after spending time in Florida is not a domestic flight because it’s outside the US
  • Train travel from New York City to Los Angeles is domestic travel because it’s inside the US
  • Bus travel from San Francisco to Seattle, WA is domestic travel because it’s inside the US
  • Driving or walking across the border into Canada but not staying in Canada does not constitute domestic travel. It only becomes domestic once you’ve spent time there
  • Boating or sailing from Miami to the Virgin Islands is not domestic travel because it’s outside of US borders

I hope these examples help you differentiate between traveling between different cities and international destinations.

What is a Domestic Flight?

Family Waving Goodbye at Airport

Air travel can also be domestic, so if you need to get from one U.S. state to another, the airline you choose may fly domestically rather than internationally. A domestic flight is defined as traveling within the same country’s borders via air travel.

Domestic flights are usually cheaper than international air travel because international flights include what’s called “transit” fees which are just taxes that other countries charge for airports and airspace usage while traveling through their respective airspace on an international flight route- not what many people would consider a ‘fee’ in what they expect at an airline ticket price.

But it’s what the governments require anyways out of fairness for them since this is how they generate income.

See Related: How Much is a Trip to Italy: Average Cost Per Day

So what’s the difference between domestic and international flights?

Airport Interior

The biggie is that on a domestic flight, your bags don’t go through customs or immigration inspection since you’re still in the same country (or your home country) – they just get checked at the gate before you board like normal and then go to the baggage carousel with everyone else’s luggage when you land.

If you’re flying internationally, the baggage has to be checked through customs and immigration at a specialized facility within international airports so what you can bring with you is limited because of what they have to weed out as far as what you’re allowed to bring into your destination country.

Domestic flights are typically shorter than an international flight that crosses multiple time zones or goes to a different country which means they usually won’t serve in-flight meals.

For what it’s worth, domestic flights you take within the United States are usually pretty short anyways so most airlines don’t bother adding this expense to what they charge for what is just a very quick flight that only eats up about 2 hours of your day or less.

See Related: Best Day to Book Flights

Cheaper than what exactly?

Holding and Counting Money

Compared to what you might pay for an international flight, domestic flights usually cost less. How much less depends on a variety of factors, like what time of year you’re flying and what airline you choose.

But when you fly domestically, you can often save some money on your ticket price.

See Related: Why Are Flights So Expensive Right Now? Factors to Know

Do I need a passport to fly domestically?

Holding a Passport

A US tourist traveling to an airport in the US does not require a passport or a visa. Nonetheless, your identity document will need confirmation before traveling. They can include identifying documents such as a driver’s license.

See Related: Things to Know When Flying with Cash

What is the meaning of domestic departures?

Domestic departures are locations in airports where domestic flights depart.

What is the meaning of domestic arrivals?

Domestic arrivals are for travelers arriving in the United States from a United States destination. This is significantly called out at airports since international travel requires different security and jurisdiction measures such as immigration, customs, and passport control, which are separate from a domestic terminal at the airport.

See Related: Delta Airlines Review

Final Thoughts

While international travel typically conjures up visions of far-off lands and exotic locales, domestic travel can be just as rewarding—and sometimes even more so.

By exploring all that America has to offer, travelers can discover a wealth of hidden gems and unique experiences that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

So what are you waiting for? Start planning your next domestic adventure today.


What is the difference between international and domestic travel?

International travel is typically related to traveling outside of what country or geographic region one lives in. For example, a traveler from the United States may go on international travel when they go on vacation in another country.

Domestic travel is what most people think of when they hear “travel.” Domestic travel is going between cities within a particular country or area of the world.

For instance, a domestic traveler might be someone who wants to visit New York City and Washington D.C., both located within the United States. Sometimes domestic travelers also seek out what’s known as nearby destinations, which are places within driving distance from one’s starting location – for example, driving upstate New York to Niagara Falls on an overnight road trip with multiple stops along the way.

Many people prefer domestic travel to international travel because it’s faster and more convenient. People can choose what cities to go to without worrying about what visa they need or whether their passports will be accepted by another country’s government. However, for those who love seeing new places and cultures, traveling internationally is also important because it allows them to learn more about what’s beyond what they already know.

What are examples of domestic tourism?

Domestic tourism refers to tourism that takes place within one’s own country. The term is not well-defined and may have different meanings depending on the context it is being used in.

In some cases, “domestic” can differentiate between locally- or nationally-produced products from those that are imported, whereas others use it to distinguish what has been produced domestically from what was imported elsewhere for marketing purposes.

What Does Domestic Travel Mean?

The definition of domestic travel is simple: it’s traveling within the borders of your own country. Domestic travel can include flights, road trips, or train rides.

How early do I have to be at the airport for a domestic flight?

You should arrive at the airport 1 hour before your departure date for domestic flights.

How early do I have to be at the airport for an international flight?

You should arrive at the airport 3 hours before your departure date for international air travel.

Is Puerto Rico considered domestic or international?

Puerto Rico is considered domestic air travel in the United States. This is because Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory when it was acquired from Spain in the Spanish-American War in 1898.

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