Looking to get away this summer? Well, you are not alone, according to an American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, which reports that more Americans are planning to travel this summer despite rising gas prices.

More Americans are planning on traveling this summer (59 percent in 2011 vs. 51 percent in 2010), meaning small jolts in the economic recovery are apparently coaxing vacationing consumers to leave home this summer. Those who plan on taking an average of two week-long vacations plan on spending an average of $1,200 per person, and three weekend-getaways plan on spending an average of $300 per weekend.

“‘Staycations,’ popularized during the recession, are falling to the wayside as consumers go beachside instead,” said Claire Bennett, senior vice president and general manager of American Express Travel. “Most Americans will be enjoying their summer away from home this year with many planning multiple vacations. This is terrific news for the travel industry.”

Taking a quick weekend trip

Americans with travel plans are preferring quick getaways this summer to weeklong vacations (68 percent vs. 63 percent) proving that they are more rigorously searching for savings and will cut costs however they can. Also, a rise of vacationers driving instead of flying (38 percent) will keep them closer to home, and within North America. The top destinations, therefore, remain within the U.S. with Florida, California and New York garnering the most visitors. Outside of the U.S. the Bahamas and Canada are tied at number one with Italy right behind.

In a semi-related note, the European hotel industry is also showing steady signs of growth, which is not unaffected by American travel. Visitors to Europe are an important factor of the recovery since on average they spend 88 percent more per trip than European tourists.

Jetting off to Europe

Italy saw the greatest growth from non-Europeans (15 percent), followed by Spain (14 percent) and France (13 percent). The UK and Germany grew at a slightly slower rate of 12 percent. In comparison, the overall growth in spending by European tourists was only one percent in 2010.

Nearly 60 percent of Americans are cutting costs in their everyday spending to afford their summer vacations, such as spending less on:

  • Dining out (38 percent)
  • Clothing (30 percent)
  • Home improvements (25 percent)
  • Entertaining or going out with friends (24 percent)
  • Pampering at spa or salon (20 percent)
  • Gadget/tech purchases (18 percent)

What are your summer vacation plans and how are you cutting costs (or not) to make it possible? Tell us in the comments section below. If this article just got you thinking about taking a vacation, check out our Bargain Tracker which frequently offers travel deals.

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