This holiday season it’s about travel, with 62% of Americans saying they would rather hit the road than get holiday presents, according to the latest American Express Spending & Savings Tracker.
Of those traveling, 61% of respondents said they will be visiting friends and family, 30% will be splurging on themselves and their family.
Giving the gift of travel is up this holiday too, with 31% saying that they had given a trip as a gift, up from 27% in 2011.
Travel budgets vs. splurging
When asked about their holiday travel plans, more than half reported that they will be on a budget, and sticking to it. Expecting to spend $617 on each person, down 9 % from 2011 when they spent $678.
And to keep their holiday travel spend down, they will be taking steps to get the best deal, including:
- Investigating online deals
- Paying for some or all of their trip using reward points
- Talking with a travel agent
Yet destination trumps budget for many when planning a trip, with 37% saying it’s their top priority, followed by budget (26%), and overall experience, whether that means getting some rest and relaxation or having an adventure, came in third at 13%.
Spending more on travel fun
When compared with other years, consumers who will be traveling between Thanksgiving and the New Year, are willing to spend more on certain things, including the destination, dining out, entertainment, and staying away longer.
Travel inside the U.S is in style this year, but some people will be traveling internationally, and these destinations are on their to-do list:
- The Caribbean
- Mexico/Central America
- South America
- Australia/New Zealand
- Africa/Middle East
Where to stay
Four-star hotels were a popular choice with 30% of respondents saying that is where they will stay. Nearly a quarter (23%) will be checking in to budget accommodations with three stars or less.
On the list of draws at the accommodation level are food and beverage credits (40%), room upgrades (25%) and complimentary spa treatments (21%).
The American Express Spending & Saving Tracker was conducted online October 23 to 26.