For the first time in three years, a majority of Americans plan on taking a vacation. A majority (51 percent) of Americans say they’re confident (36 percent very confident/15 percent somewhat confident) that they will take a vacation in 2011, defined as leisure travel of at least a week to a destination at least 100 miles from their home.
This proportion is up 13 percentage points from last year, according to a new Ipsos Public Affairs poll conducted on behalf of Mondial Assistance USA. One in ten (9 percent) Americans say they’ve already taken a vacation this year (down 2 percentage points). Just four in 10 (39 percent) are not confident (25 percent not at all/14 percent not very) that they’ll take a vacation, which is down 4 points from last year.
There still remains a vacation deficit in America, although it is shrinking. The vacation deficit can be measured by gauging the proportion of Americans who say a vacation is important to them but aren’t confident they’ll get one in 2011. Among those who say an annual vacation is important to them, one quarter (24 percent) are not confident that they’ll get one this year, down from 28 percent in 2010.
The results of the survey reveal that those aged 35 to 54 are most likely (56 percent) to be confident that they’ll take a vacation, while younger (51 percent) and older (45 percent) Americans are less likely to feel this way. Not surprisingly, confidence correlates strongly with one’s income: those whose household income is in excess of $75,000 a year are most confident (69 percent), while those who earn between $25,000 and $75,000 a year (53 percent) or less than $25,000 (34 percent) are significantly less confident that they’ll get away this year.
Regionally speaking, those in the south (55 percent) are most likely to be confident that they’ll hit the road this year, followed by Americans living in the West (51 percent), Northeast (51 percent) and Midwest (46 percent). While last year’s survey reported that Americans were becoming increasingly deprived of leisure travel, the good news this year is that more Americans are embracing travel. While one half (51 percent) of Americans say they haven’t traveled in at least a year, this proportion is down 5 points over last year. In fact, two in 10 (19 percent) have traveled within the last three months.
Ironically, despite the fact that more Americans report having traveled, and with more Americans saying they’re confident they’ll travel this year, fewer Americans (57 percent) report that an annual vacation is important (28 percent very important/29 percent important) to them, down 6 points since last year and 10 points in two years. Still, a strong majority of Americans indicate that it is important.