Summer Travel Spending to Hit $86 Billion

The poor U.S. economy will not keep vacationers away from their favorite destinations as Americans are expected to spend $86 billion this summer, an increase of nine percent from last year according to a recent survey by interclick, inc, who received the total figure from Mondial Assistance USA and Access America.

Whether consumers are planning for a road trip nearby or an excursion overseas, the Internet will continue to reign highest for both researching and booking vacation packages.The study surveyed over 1,300 consumers to learn more about what Americans are planning for their vacations this summer.

The study found that the beach is king of vacation destinations, yet the great American road trip embodies the highest cost advantage to explore the country. Half of individuals taking a cruise will spend at least $3,000, making it the costliest destination. Marketers in the travel and tourism industry play an integral role as vacationers select their destination spots, and should maintain the Internet as the cornerstone for their campaign, the survey says.

"Whether it is reading customer reviews or searching for the best deals, the Internet reflects the primary source of information. When utilizing the web as a research tool, individuals in the 18-34 age group are 25 percent more likely to search travel tips online,  and women are more likely to take advantage of the Internet than males," interclick said.

"Travelers book their travel plans early; the survey found that 40 percent of vacationers report starting the planning process more than three months in advance, while only 20 percent plan less than one month away. It’s common to worry about canceling a trip for a variety of reasons," interclick continued. "But only 4 percent of those travelers who plan three months in advance decide to withdraw from their vacation festivities due to the rise in gas prices."

"In the international arena, vacationers report having the most resistance to change due to the increase in price per gallon of gas. Nonetheless, jetsetters are more determined than ever to shop for the best deals available," interclick reported.

On the contrary, domestic travelers experience more sensitivity to the rise of gas, since most Americans rely on their automobiles as a means of transportation this summer. According to the survey, three in 10 will adapt a new itinerary and adjust preexisting plans to face energy hikes.

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Correction: Travel Agent Central's initial story attributed the total spending figure cited by this survey to interclick inc. The figure was actually arrived at by Access America and Mondial Assistance USA. Travel Agent Central regrets the error.