Last updated: 04:30 PM ET, Mon May 16 2016

American Express Travel Says To Plan for Busy Summer Ahead

Host Agency & Consortia | American Express Travel | Janeen Christoff | May 16, 2016

American Express Travel Says To Plan for Busy Summer Ahead

PHOTO: More Americans are planning to travel this summer. (Photo courtesy Thinkstock)

Brace yourself for a busy summer travel season – it could be one for the record books. According to American Express Travel, 195 million Americans are planning a summer vacation this year and, so far in 2016, domestic travel is already up 17 percent, according the company’s internal booking data.

“We expect a robust travel season and are gearing up,” said Claire Bennett, executive vice president of American Express Travel. “In fact, an early read of our data shows a 13 percent increase in summer travel bookings compared to last year at this time.”

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Here are some of the statistics that are leading to such an optimistic outlook.

This summer a majority of Americans are planning to travel, with 80 percent planning at least one summer vacation. When it comes to millennials, that number reaches even higher. Almost 90 percent of millennials plan to take a summer vacation this year and, just like the rest of us, a vast majority of them plan to travel within the U.S.

Family travel continues to be one of the top trends in summer travel and the beach is still one of their most popular destinations. This year, more than seven in 10 families, 71 percent, are planning vacations and two in five (40 percent) are heading to the beach.

An interesting trend that has emerged so far this year is that fewer people are traveling to visit family this summer, at 34 percent.

U.S. travelers are choosing their weekend plans more wisely this year. While the Fourth of July is one of the most popular holiday weekends to travel during the summer, approximately 35 percent of Americans are choosing not to travel over a holiday weekend. However, weekend trips still remain popular with two-thirds of Americans (64 percent) planning an average of three weekend trips over the summer months.

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Again, millennials are planning more weekend trips than the average traveler. Seventy-two percent of millennials are planning to travel over a weekend this summer.

And where are all of these travelers going? With domestic travel up 17 percent, some new destination trends are emerging and American Express Travel found the following cities to be the top 10 locations for U.S. travelers: Phoenix; Philadelphia; Dallas; Atlanta; Los Angeles, Jackson Hole, Wyo.; Las Vegas, Miami; New York; and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

American Express’ data also revealed some interesting trends in how travelers choose their vacation destinations. Research found that social media plays a large part in where people decide to go, with 92 percent of the population agreeing that social media has an impact on their travel decisions.

For millennials, social media plays an even greater role. Sixty-five percent use Facebook and 32 percent use Instagram to book travel. Fifty-two percent of millennials follow properties, influencers and magazines for travel inspiration and 55 percent feel that it’s important to look at reviews when booking hotels.

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