Schools are letting out and temperatures are rising, which means one thing: summer vacation plans are well underway in many households across the country. According to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, that means stretching budgets to spend more than last year on travel, dining and other vacation activities.
More people are planning summertime adventures this year than last, with 69% of respondents planning to hit the road during June, July and August this year. In 2012 more people planned staycations,where they took time off from work but stayed home.
Affluent households are even more likely to be going on trips, especially international travels. Four out of five of those higher-income households had plans to travel and 38% of them say they are heading overseas.
Planning the trip
Most people act as their own travel agents these days, with only 10% of travelers reporting that they will use an outside travel agent to help plan their trips. When booking a straightforward vacation itinerary, 25% say they are comfortable doing it on their own, but would ask a travel agent for advice if they had a complicated itinerary or were going to an unfamiliar location.
Even if they do plan to use a travel agent, 27% say they do their own research first to make sure they are getting the best deal.
How much, how long, where to and what to do
Taking a look at their travel budgets, people said they planned to spend an average of $1,145 per person on vacation. Last year only 27% of respondents planned to spend more than $1,000 per person. Almost half of travelers (49%) will be going on vacation with the family. Thirty-six percent will go with a girlfriend or boyfriend and 11% are planning a trip with friends.
How long do people plan to be away from home? Nearly two-thirds (66%) say they will be gone for at least a week, and about one-fourth (26%) are taking two weeks or more off to travel.
Most travel will be within the United States, with the southern states being the most popular destinations. Forty-four percent of travelers are headed south, 27% will explore the west coast and 23% are escaping to northern climes this summer. Commonly cited destinations were Florida (21%), California (15%), Bahamas (11%) and New York (10%).
Once they have arrived at their destination, vacationers say they plan to soak up the local culture (36%), do some shopping (30%), enjoy local cuisine (26%), participate in some educational opportunities (24%) and visit historical sites or monuments (23%).
American Express conducts their Spending & Saving Tracker online among 1,505 U.S. adults comprising two demographics—a random sample of the general population, and an affluent group defined as having a yearly household income of $100,000 or more.