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TripAdvisor Reports Rise in Travel for Memorial Day, Summer

Destination & Tourism | Mimi Kmet | May 14, 2013

TripAdvisor Reports Rise in Travel for Memorial Day, Summer

TripAdvisor has reported that travel for the Memorial Day Weekend and for summer is on the rise. The report comes from the company’s 2013 summer travel survey of more than 1,200 U.S. respondents. Nearly one-third (30 percent) of those polled said they are planning to travel this Memorial Day weekend, and 86 percent are planning a leisure trip this summer. These numbers represent a 6 percent and 7 percent increase, respectively, compared with travelers who took a trip during the same times in 2012.

According to 93 percent of Memorial Day travelers and 87 percent of summer vacationers, gas prices will not have an effect on plans this summer. As national average gas prices continue to decline year-over-year, so does the impact of gas prices on leisure summer travel plans among the respondents. The national average price for a gallon of regular gas has dropped from $3.75 in mid-May 2012 $3.60 during the same period this year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, TripAdvisor said.

In fact, cars are the most popular mode of transportation for leisure travel this summer, followed by air travel and train. Three in four (74 percent) summer travelers will be traveling by car, 64 percent will fly, and 11 percent will take a train. Of those traveling for Memorial Day, 56 percent will be driving, and 36 percent will travel by plane. The greatest number of travelers (29 percent) indicated that they will drive between 100 and 200 miles for a weekend trip, while 21 percent will drive 50 to 100 miles, and 11 percent will drive more than 500 miles.

Fifty-three percent of those traveling this summer said they will spend the same on their trip this year, while 25 percent expect to spend more. In addition, 71 percent said they would take a spontaneous trip if they found a last-minute deal.

The top five most popular summer destination types this year, according to the survey are ocean (51 percent), city (50 percent), countryside (29 percent), national park (23 percent) and lake (17 percent). Respondents were allowed to give more than one answer.

New York City is the most popular U.S. destination for summer travel, according to the survey. Boston and Washington, D.C., ranked second and third.

Most travelers (70 percent) surveyed will stay in hotels for leisure trips this summer, followed by 27 percent who will stay at the home of family or friends and 20 percent who will rent a vacation rental home.

The most popular vacation activity this summer will be shopping, according to more than half (51 percent) of respondents. Other top activities for this summer's vacationers are swimming (45 percent), visiting a museum (42 percent), visiting a national or state park (37 percent), and attending a barbecue or cook-out (35 percent.

Zip-lining, paddleboarding and renting a bike from a share program are three of the most popular activities for travelers planning to try something new. Twenty-two percent say that what they like most about summer is spending time outdoors; 22 percent most prefer the extended daylight hours; and 18 percent said they like the warmer weather. Larger crowds are respondents' biggest aversion (44 percent) to summer travel, followed by high travel costs (19 percent).

Regarding favorite summer foods, 33 percent said ice cream tops their list; 13 percent said lobster is their favorite; and 9 percent said they like fried seafood. The top summer beverages are margaritas (15 percent), beer (12 percent), and iced tea (9 percent).

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