Last updated: 10:10 AM ET, Mon May 20 2013

The Great American Road Trip Lives, Many Plan for Road Over Air This Summer

Features & Advice | Gretchen Kelly | May 20, 2013

The Great American Road Trip Lives, Many Plan for Road Over Air This Summer

In the week leading up to Memorial Day, travel surveys seem to be popping up like early summer flowers after an April rain.  Fortunately, they all seem to be predicting a steady return to travel. As economic indicators continue to move forward this summer, TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation reported that in a recent survey, a majority (78 percent) of Americans were planning a summer vacation.

Roughly one in four (26 percent) of Americans surveyed plan to spend more money on their summer travels this year compared to the last five years. Another 55 percent will spend the same. Almost half (48 percent) of Americans plan to travel more than 400 miles from home while staying in the U.S. Twenty-nine percent plan to leave North America.

“While uncertainty remains, there have been good indicators that the economy is getting stronger and Americans are starting to feel more optimistic. That optimism can help fuel spending, so it’s not surprising to see that so many people plan to travel this summer,” said Carrie Braxdale, managing director, investor services TD Ameritrade, Inc.

In a separate survey conducted by YP, the search, media and advertising company,  travel apps were overwhelmingly on the agenda for summer travel planning. The survey, which focused on road trips and gas prices, found that most respondents said they would consult two or more apps in planning a trip. It also found that Boston and Austin lead other U.S. cities in preparing for Memorial Day road trips; and that mobile searches for gas prices peak in August, suggesting more Americans are taking road trips later in the summer.

When surveyed to compare driving versus flying, Americans found greater flexibility in schedule (35 percent) and sight-seeing (33 percent) as the two most appealing benefits of taking a trip by automobile, besides price, instead of by plane. These responses were followed by the ability to easily take more stuff with you (11 percent), avoiding crowds and security lines (9 percent), and the ability to more easily take pets (7 percent).

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