Travel Trends

Americans Prefer Road Trips to All Other Forms of Travel

Survey Reveals That Americans Prefer Road Trips to All Other Forms of Travel, That Summer Is Their Favorite Season For Hitting the Road, and That 60 percent Do Not Travel Internationally
Survey Reveals That Americans Prefer Road Trips to All Other Forms of Travel, That Summer Is Their Favorite Season For Hitting the Road, and That 60 percent Do Not Travel Internationally
Americans Prefer Road Trips to All Other Forms of Travel

Travel Industry Wire

Summer is here, and, according to new data from Ebates most Americans will be taking the opportunity to hit the highway.

The Ebates Summer Survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults, conducted online by Propeller Insights on behalf of Ebates in June 2018, revealed how, where and for how much Americans will be spending their summer vacations.

Road Tripping: The Great American Tradition

Most Americans (82 percent) take 1-3 vacations a year, and a lot of that vacationing happens over the summer: more than half of Americans (56 percent) say it’s their favorite time to travel.

The vast majority of Americans (92 percent) will be travelling domestically this year, and Americans prefer road trips (40 percent) to all other forms of travel—including planes (38 percent), boats (7 percent), hiking (6 percent), and trains (5 percent).

Of the international destinations Americans would most like to visit, Italy topped the list:

1. Italy — 34 percent

2. Canada — 24 percent

3. France — 24 percent

4. England — 23 percent

5. Australia — 23 percent

For Travel Inspiration, Americans Phone a Friend

When in need of vacation destination inspiration, Americans are more than twice as likely to turn to friends (51 percent) and family (58 percent) than to travel TV shows (23 percent), sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp (23 percent), or social media (23 percent). However:

  • Millennials are much more likely than other Americans to turn to social media (37 percent), Pinterest (17 percent) and travel bloggers (18 percent)
  • Gen Xers (28 percent) find more inspiration than other Americans in travel TV shows
  • Seniors (25 percent) enjoy travel magazines more than other Americans
  • Men are much more likely than women to turn to coworkers (18 percent versus 14 percent) and travel agents (13 percent versus 7 percent)

Speaking of coworkers: second only to strangers, coworkers are Americans’ least favorite travel companions. Americans most love traveling with their significant others and kids. Work is also the number one thing people most look forward to leaving behind when on vacation, and 60 percent of Americans who travel for business say they sometimes turn their business trips into personal vacations.

What We Love When We Vacay

Regardless of age or gender, what Americans most want out of their vacations is relaxation (83 percent) and fun (68 percent). About half of Americans are also looking for adventure, and fewer than a third hope to find romance, although, for Millennials, adventure (62 percent) and romance (34 percent) are a much higher priority.

What kinds of vacations do Americans most love and hate?

Americans most love: But cringe at the thought of:
Cruises and amusement parks — 55 percent Solo backpacking trip — 37 percent
Trips with friends — 42 percent Adventure excursion — 23 percent
All-inclusive vacations — 40 percent A guided tour of a country — 17 percent

Most Americans like to spend about a week on vacation. Some, however, vacation for a bit more time (19 percent), and some for a bit less (35 percent), although women (11 percent) are almost twice as likely as men (6 percent) to prefer a quick weekend getaway of 1-3 days.

For those Americans who don’t travel, cost is the biggest obstacle (53 percent).

How—and How Much—Americans Spend on Travel

When booking travel, about a third of Americans (36 percent) spend $500-$1,000 on plane fare and accommodations, another third (34 percent) spend $1,000-$2,000, and the remaining 30 percent spend more than $2,000. In total, most Americans (70 percent) typically spend less than $3,000 when they vacation.

How far in advance of travel are Americans booking plane tickets and hotel rooms? It’s a pretty even split between advance planners and procrastinators:

Plane tickets:

Hotel rooms:
A year or more — 14 percent A year or more — 11 percent
Six months — 20 percent Six months — 16 percent
Three months — 32 percent Three months — 28 percent
One month — 20 percent One month — 23 percent
Within two weeks of the trip — 15 percent Within two weeks of the trip — 21 percent

Interestingly, 43 percent of Americans say they book travel directly through the brand. Another 36 percent use consolidator sites like Orbitz and Kayak, and 21 percent book travel through a site that specializes in travel deals, like Ebates.

“Our survey shows that this summer is going to be a fun one for the many Americans hitting the highway,” said Amit Patel, CEO of Ebates. “Our survey also revealed that the top reason some Americans don’t travel is because of cost. Ebates makes it easy to find incredible travel ideas and deals so everyone can enjoy their ideal summer vacation—even on a tight budget.”

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