As the economy improves consumers are hitting the road and increasing their summer vacation budgets with 53 percent planning to spend more than $1,500 compared to 39 percent in 2011, Orbitz reports from its survey of 1,000 U.S. travelers about their summer travel plans. Of those surveyed 77 percent are taking a vacation this summer with more than half (56 percent) planning to travel by car and 39 percent by air, Orbitz says. The majority of consumers (60 percent) said gas prices will be a factor in where they travel this summer.
Based on the Orbitz survey, more consumers are planning to travel in July (31 percent) rather than in June (18 percent) or August (20 percent) with the rest of travelers still undecided. With increased airfares and hotel rates this summer, researching deals and being flexible on travel dates can stretch summer vacation budgets, Orbitz says.
"Hotel prices in many of the most popular destination this summer are cheaper in June vs. July, including those in eight of the Orbitz top 10 summer destinations," said Jeanenne Tornatore, senior editor of Orbitz.com. "Travelers that can be flexible on travel dates should consider a June getaway when daily hotel rates are 6% less expensive, on average."
Other highlights from the Orbitz Summer Travel Insider Index include:
• Las Vegas tops the list as the most popular destination for summer 2012 with affordable hotel rates ($95 per night) likely being a key factor.
• Cancun is the only international destination making the top 10 list this summer.
• Of the top 10 summer hotspots, Denver is the only city experiencing a decrease in average daily hotel rates.
• New York jumped quite a few spots from the sixth most popular destination in 2011 to the number-two spot this year, whereas Orlando dropped from the number one to number three destination.
Additional findings from the Orbitz Summer Travel Survey include:
• More travelers feel guilty about leaving behind their pet (33 percent) than their children (30 percent) when they go on vacation.
• Americans wish the U.S. would follow Europe's suit regarding paid time off, with 44 percent of survey respondents believing the government should mandate companies to offer at least four weeks of vacation per year.
• Nearly half (47 percent) of survey respondents are getting summer travel ideas through social media platforms such as Facebook and Pinterest.
• 54 percent of consumers said they would attend the Summer Olympics in London this year if money were no object.
• The majority of consumers plan to travel domestically (81 percent), but more consumers are planning to travel internationally this year (19 percent vs. 11 percent in 2011).