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Stat: 53 Percent Say Economy Has No Impact on Travel Plans

May 26, 2015

According to a recent Harris Poll, more than half of Americans say their outlook on the U.S. economy has no impact on their likelihood to travel this summer – an overall 13 percent improvement from when this question was first asked six years ago.

harris summer travel infographic

Nearly seven in ten Americans (68%) have at least one leisure trip planned for summer 2015 (May through August), a slight increase from the 66 percent who planned one last year and an overall steady growth rate since the six in ten (60%) who planned a trip three years ago for summer 2012.

Twenty seven percent still say they're less likely to travel this summer due to their outlook on the U.S. economy, but that percentage continues to decrease year over year.

These are among the findings from a Harris Poll of 2,215 U.S. adults (aged 18 and older) surveyed online from April 16-20, 2015.

Business travel, however, has yet to make a similar recovery, with just 15 percent of Americans planning at least one business trip. While relatively unchanged from last year's 14 percent, it's a cumulative eight-point drop compared to six years ago (23% in 2009).

Regardless the type of travel, Americans plan to spend upwards of $1,500 on their trips, on average. Those planning summer leisure travel anticipate spending an average of $1,722 on their trips while those anticipating a business trip plan to spend $1,513, on average.

Top Destinations

When those planning at least one leisure trip over the summer are asked what types of destinations they plan to visit, beach locations (43%) rise to the top. In a distant second place, vacationers will visit the downtown/center of a city (32%), followed by a national/state park (24%) and countryside/rural locations (22%). Two in ten are planning to hit a mountain location (21%), a suburban area (20%), or a theme park (19%), and 16 percent plan to find themselves on a leisure/discovery vacation (e.g., spa, wine country, golf or other unique attraction).

Millennials are more likely than any other generation to be planning a downtown/center of a city vacation (40% vs. 27% Gen X, 28% Baby Boomers, & 26% Matures).

Not too surprisingly, adults with mini vacationers in tow have some differing preferences: those in households with children are more likely than those without to be planning a trip to a beach (52% with, 38% without) or theme park (31% with, 13% without) location.

It's unclear whether convenience is key or if there's just no such thing as too much fresh air, but those living in rural areas are more likely to be planning trips to a national/state park (35% rural vs. 22% urban & suburban).

Air Travel Trends

Nineteen percent of air travelers say they had at least one airline trip cancelled or severely disrupted by weather during the past winter, and 15 percent plan to take a vacation this summer to "make up" for one cancelled or affected by winter weather.

However, this certainly doesn't stop Americans from taking advantage of the ability to fly and some of these flyers might be in for a new in-flight experience. Recent rule changes now allow use of some electronics during takeoff and landing. Just over one-third (35%) of adults and air travelers alike agree this new rule makes them nervous.

Meanwhile, 38 percent of adults and 44 percent of air travelers want even more leeway, agreeing that airlines should allow passengers to use their mobile phones on flights. Not everyone agrees on this sentiment, however. Over half of adults (53%) and over six-in-ten air travelers (63%) agree the ban on cell phone calls on airplanes gives them a much-needed reprieve.


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