Americans to Travel More During Holidays

Travel spending will be up as more Americans plan trips over the river and through the woods this holiday season, according to the third annual Access America Vacation Confidence Index released today by Mondial Assistance USA. Nearly six in ten Americans (57 percent) are confident they will take a holiday trip this year, up from 50 percent in 2010. The increase in spending spurred by more travelers will translate to a nearly $6 billion bump for the travel industry as holiday travel spending is expected to reach $65.2 billion, a 10 percent increase from last year.

“This year’s survey illustrates some good news for the travel industry,” said Daniel Durazo, director of communications for Mondial Assistance. “More Americans are traveling this year compared to 2010, and that translates into billions of dollars in extra revenue for travel suppliers. And the good news for Americans is that more people expect to be able to travel this holiday season, reducing the Vacation Deficit by more than 10%.”

Overall Travel Spending is Up this Holiday

Travelers intend to spend $980 on average, down slightly from $1,040 budgeted on average last year. But with significantly more adults expecting to take a trip, overall spend will increase to $65.2 billion.

Car Travel Still Most Popular, But More Plan to Fly

  • Air Travel Wins Big: While car travel is still the top mode of transportation (56 percent), more travelers intend to fly to their destinations this year than they have in the past. A third of travelers (34 percent) plan to fly this year, up from 26 percent last year, and 27 percent in 2009.
  • Keeping it in the Family: Holiday and family go hand-in hand, so it is not surprising that two thirds of parents with children under 18 reported that a holiday vacation is important.
  • Booking Sooner Rather than Later:Nearly half (49 percent) of Americans plan on booking their travel at least two months in advance (compared to 42 percent in 2010) and nearly a quarter intend to book their trip between one and two months out.
  • Mars vs. Venus Exception: Women may not find this surprising, but men are more likely to wait until the last minute to book holiday travel, with a third (32 percent) saying that they plan to book within a month of their departure (compared to 21 percent of women).

Vacation Deficit Index

This year the vacation deficit index, defined as those who believe it is important to take an annual holiday trip but are not confident they will take one, is down to one in five Americans (21 percent) from nearly one in three (32 percent) last year.

“What we’re seeing is that travel continues to be an important investment for Americans, even in unsettled economic times,” said Durazo. “The combination of increased travel, recovering travel costs and the uncertainty in the economy make travel insurance this year’s ‘must have’ stocking stuffer for holiday travelers.”

The Access America Vacation Confidence Index is based on a telephone survey conducted by Ipsos November 2-7, 2011 of a nationally representative sample of 1,000 randomly-selected adults aged 18 and over residing in the U.S. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate within ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire population of adults in the U.S. been polled. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. These data were weighted to ensure the sample’s regional and age/gender composition reflects that of the actual U.S. population according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

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