Report: US travel on the up

Nearly half of Americans say they will take a holiday before the end of the summer and they are using social media to inspire them where to go.

Nearly 60 per cent of Americans are likely to hit the road this season, up three points from last year and exceeding the 50 per cent of Americans who say they typically take a summer vacation, travelling at least 100 miles from home for a week, according to the third annual Allianz Travel Insurance Summer Vacation Confidence Index.

The vacation uptick is the result of those reporting they have already gotten away – 13 per cent, up five points from last year – paired with the 44 per cent of Americans who are confident they’ll take a vacation before summer’s end.

The index also found more good news for the travel industry – America’s vacation deficit is shrinking. Measured by taking the proportion of those who think a vacation is important but are not confident that they’ll get one this year, the “deficit” dropped to 18 per cent, down six points from last year and 10 from the year before.

“With the rebound of summer vacation travel, we’ve seen an increase in travel insurance sales,” said Daniel Durazo, director of communications with Allianz Global Assistance USA. “This is especially true for bigger ticket purchases such as trips to London for the Olympics – the travel highlight this season.”

Inspired online

Social media continues to grow in popularity to provide consumers with travel guidance and inspiration. Among those confident that they will take a summer vacation, a majority (52 per cent) are using social media for inspiration. Facebook is the favourite site, used by nearly three in 10 (29 per cent); runner-up sites include TripAdvisor (14 per cent), Twitter (6 per cent), and Pinterest (4 per cent).

Most seasoned travellers have one airport nightmare that they wouldn’t want to relive; however, sometimes hiccups are inevitable. Asked how they would spend time if their flight was delayed for hours, most said they would get right down to business and immediately call their travel agent or get in line to rebook (28 per cent), while others would catch up with friends and family via phone, Skype, or e-mail (24 per cent), catch some zzz’s (19 per cent), or load up on celebrity magazines (9 per cent). Young adults said they are more likely to jump on their cells or computers to connect with friends and family (33 per cent vs. 24 per cent for travellers generally). And women were twice as likely as men to buy magazines (11 per cent vs. 6 per cent).