travel

Have Holiday, Will Travel

Beach

Looks like the staycation has officially jumped the shark. While it's not that travelers are not conscious of pain at the gas pump, travel experts say they're not about to let it keep them at home.

A survey from TripAdvisor reports that 86% of people are planning some kind of a trip this summer, up from 83% last year. And 33% planned to travel Memorial Day weekend, up from 29% last year. (The Automobile Association of America was also predicting an increase, albeit a smaller one, projecting that 34.9 million Americans would travel 50 miles or more from home over Memorial Day holiday weekend -- an increase of 0.2%.)

"There is definitely going to be a bump in the number of leisure trips compared to last year," TripAdvisor spokesperson Brooke Ferencsik tells Marketing Daily. "Most Americans only have two to three weeks a year, and not taking advantage of that precious time just isn't an option. Summer is when the kids are out of school, and they are not willing to forgo that holiday -- not for a bad economy, not for bad weather, not for high gas prices. They may make modifications -- stay in less expensive places, shorten the trip -- but they're not giving up the family vacation."

Fuel prices are definitely shaping the itinerary, however, with 39% saying the cost of gas factored into their plans, 18% taking fewer trips, 12% scheduling shorter driving trips, and 5% determined to stay home. And 24% say they will not go any further than 200 miles from home. But they are a little tired of being frugal travelers, with 26% planning to spend more than they did last year, and 42% planning to spend about the same as they did last year.

One change this year, he says, is a jump in the popularity of city vacations, with 50% of those polled planning to visit a metropolis. (New York, Boston and Washington, D.C. topped the list.) Just 40% plan to visit the ocean, 18% a national park, and 16% a lake. Hiking is the most popular activity, at 33%, and there is a small increase in happy campers -- 12% will camp, compared to 10% last year.

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