Almost half of British holidaymakers are booking a long-haul trip this year with the US the most popular destination, new research shows.

The study also shows an increase in travel spend this year with consumers set for an average outlay of £2,924 on their holidays during the next 12 months, with eight out of 10 saying they will book all of their travel elements online.

More than half of those booking online say it gives them better access to deals and lower prices.

The study of 1,000 holidaymakers found that 46% plan to travel long-haul, with 20% heading to the US, followed by Australia at 11%.

One in 10 will be going to the Caribbean, with India and Thailand completing the top five most popular long haul destinations for 2016.

The research by corporate payment solutions firm Wex reveals a strong percentage of older travellers looking to see the world and holiday further afield with people aged 35-44 most likely to travel long haul (54%) and almost half of those holidaymakers aged between 45-54 travelling to long haul destinations.

The percentage of over-55s heading further afield than Europe this year is 41%.

However, short-haul travel remains the most popular, with almost three quarters (71%) planning at least one holiday closer to home in the next 12 months.

Spain is the top destination with 44% heading to the country, followed by France (18%), Greece (17%), Italy (15%) and Portugal (8%).

Ian Johnson, Wex commercial director Europe, virtual payments, said: “British holidaymakers are becoming more and more adventurous with their travels and are looking to experience new destinations outside of Europe.

“However, our research shows that whilst many people will be jetting off to long-haul destinations this year, Spain remains the most popular hot spot for British travellers.”

He added: “Our research also shows that British consumers continue their love affair with travelling and with an average UK salary currently at £26,700, they are set to spend just over 10% on holidays.”