An encouraging sign of economic rebound is the report of an expected 36 percent increase in the number of Americans planning a vacation this year compared with last year.
The Travel Trends Survey by Arthur D. Little Co. of Cambridge, Mass., and American Express Travel Related Services showed that 76 percent of 1,009 people planned one or more vacation trips of three or more days, and 56 percent of those people hope to take two or more trips.
"We predict that by the end of this year, the R word that has dominated this industry will shift from recession to recovery," says Harry Foden, head of the Arthur D. Little Travel, Tourism and Hospitality group.
The survey also indicated that 43 percent of the people will be spending more than last year; 32 percent the same amount. JTC However, one in five said they planned to cut back on vacation budgets because of concerns over the economy and financial pressure.
Interestingly, for those making $50,000 or more, the troubled economy shows up in a different way -- they say they will spend less money because of work pressures and no time for vacations.
The survey indicated the average amount budgeted for the main family vacation will be $1,400, with the average travel budget per family coming in at $2,500. Only one in five plans to spend $4,000 or more on travel.
Another sign of the times is that people are not making travel commitments very far in advance.
Most are making reservations just 6 1/2 weeks before the vacation. The survey indicated those in households making $15,000 or less plan vacations four weeks in advance; and those with incomes of $50,000 or more, 10 weeks in advance. The survey by Opinion Research Corp. has a sampling variation of plus or minus 3 percent.