Survey reveals Memorial Day and summer travel on the rise
NEWTON, Mass. – The results of its 2013 summer travel survey of more than 1,200 US respondents have been announes today, revealing nearly one-third (30 percent) are planning to travel this Memorial Day weekend and 86 percent are planning a leisure trip this summer.
This represents a six percent and seven percent increase, respectively, in travelers that took a trip during the same travel periods in 2012.
Relief at the Pump
According to 93 percent of Memorial Day trekkers and 87 percent of summer vacationers, gas prices will not have an effect on plans this summer. As national average gas prices continue to decline year-over-year, so does the impact of gas prices on leisure summer travel plans among survey respondents:
Average National Gas Price mid-May¹
Gas Impacting Summer Travel Plans
¹According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, national average per gallon for regular gas, May 13, 2013, May 14, 2012 and May 16, 2011.
Steady Summer Spending
Fifty-three percent of those traveling this summer said they will spend the same on their trip this year, while 25 percent expect to spend more. Travelers are also looking for savings – 71 percent said they would take a spontaneous trip if they found a last-minute deal.
Hitting the Road
Cars are the most popular mode of transportation for leisure travel this summer, followed by air travel and train. Three in four (74 percent) summer travelers will be traveling by car, 64 percent will take to the skies and 11 percent will opt for the train.
Of those traveling for Memorial Day, 56 percent will be driving to their destination and 36 percent will travel by plane. The greatest amount of travelers (29 percent) indicated they will drive between 100 and 200 miles to their weekend getaway spot, 21 percent will go 50-100 miles and 11 percent will drive more than 500 miles.
The top five most popular summer destination types this year, according to US travelers:
Ocean – 51%
City – 50%
Countryside – 29%
National park – 23%
Lake – 17%
According to the respondents, New York City tops the list again this year for the most popular U.S. destination for summer travel. Boston and Washington, D.C. took second and third, beating out Las Vegas and Chicago, which made the list in 2012.
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The majority of travelers (70 percent) surveyed will stay in hotels for leisure trips this summer, followed by 27 percent that will stay at the home of family or friends and 20 percent who will spend their time in a vacation rental home.
Shopping Tops Summer Activities
Perhaps a reflection of increased consumer confidence, the most popular vacation activity this summer will be shopping, according to more than half (51 percent) of respondents.
Other top activities for this summer’s vacationers:
45 percent plan to go swimming
42 percent plan to go to a museum
37 percent plan to visit a national or state park
35 percent plan to attend a BBQ or cookout
Zip-lining, paddleboarding and renting a bike from a share program are three of the most popular activities for travelers planning to try something new.
Summer Pros, Cons and Indulgences
Twenty-two percent say their favorite thing about summer is spending time outdoors, 22 percent most prefer the extended daylight hours and 18 percent appreciate the warmer weather. Larger crowds are respondents’ biggest aversion (44 percent) to summer travel, followed by high travel costs (19 percent).
When it comes to favorite summer food indulgences, 33 percent will splurge on ice cream, 13 percent will reach for a lobster, and nine percent look forward to fried seafood. To wash it down, the top summer beverage indulgences are margaritas (15 percent), beer (12 percent), and iced tea (nine percent).
“The survey indicates that more people are planning leisure trips this summer, notably as prices at the pump continue to decline year-over-year,” said Brooke Ferencsik, director of communications for TripAdvisor. “Whether they plan to shop, swim or just enjoy the great outdoors, prospects of sunshine and warmer weather have U.S. travelers looking ahead to summer trips.”