Summer Travel 2011: The Great Big Summer Travel Poll Recap
Results like 51.3% (1,266 votes) of those surveyed who voted "No" when asked "Is the slow economy affecting your travel plans this summer?" is a bit of a shock. 48.5% (1,232 votes) of respondents said they'll spend $1,500 or more on summer travel this year (the second highest percentage was for 15.9%--or 403 votes--who said they'll spend $500 - $1000 this summer.
These results are interesting as gas prices are soaring, and typically do every summer. Airlines are hiking fares, and the economy is still sluggish. So what's the deal?
Take the following into consideration:
49.4% (1,254 votes) responded they are traveling in the U.S. when asked "Where are you traveling this summer?" The second most votes were by those saying they're not traveling at all at 19.7% (579 votes), followed by those traveling internationally at 16.7% (491 votes) and vacationers planning international and U.S. travel at 14.2% (419 votes)--lucky people!
As most poll participants are traveling only in the U.S., and since the biggest pet peeves of those polled were high gas prices (36.9%, 890 votes) and expensive airfare (36.9%, 890 votes), it seems likely that people are spending the majority of their money in areas within easy striking distance of travelers--their own city, state or general locale.
AOL Travel user Viegram commented: "No travel for us this year. Airfares and gas is way too high. Family reunion canceled due to high costs. We live in Orlando so we will be doing local attractions. Plenty of discounts at the Florida attractions if you can take the stifling heat!"
People are spending more, but doing so closer to home to avoid excessive transportation costs. Instead of spending that $1,500 on airfare or fuel, it's going to be spent on actual travel activities, amusement parks, at the beach, national parks, or weekend getaways.
What travelers aren't doing
Going on cruises. A staggering 89.4% (2,081 votes) of participants said they are not going on a cruise this summer compared with 10.6% (246 votes) who said they are.
Historically cruises are more popular in the fall, winter and spring which partly accounts for the large amount of "no" votes. It can't help that June through November is hurricane season in the Atlantic (it's May through November in the eastern Pacific). That tends to put a damper on folks wanting to get on a large boat.
Hurricanes or no, there isn't a lack of cruise options out there during the summer. There are Caribbean cruises, and plenty of routes around Europe and Alaska.
Mediterranean cruises tend to be more expensive and they leave port from European cities (obviously), so there's the added cost of getting there from the U.S. And, with expensive airfare a concern among travelers, dishing out the funds for a ticket to Europe, then another $500 and up for a cruise makes ships leaving locally during the peak times more appealing.
See below for the complete list of results.