Vacations Are Back

June 22, 2011: Vacations Are Back

Several months ago in one of my columns I coined the term “frugality fatigue,” explaining that some people are simply tired of reining in their spending due to the challenging economy. One of the trends that emerged during the recession was “staycations.” In an attempt to save money, Americans stayed home in droves and spent their time off visiting local attractions.

Well, even though the economic recovery is wobbly at best, Americans have decided they’d had enough of home, sweet home, and are planning to hit the road this summer-despite sky-high gas prices adding to our economic woes. In fact, travel planning site TripAdvisor says 86 percent of travelers are planning to take leisure trips this summer. And in a recent poll conducted by USA Today and Gallup polls, more than 60 percent of Americans say it’s important to get away from home this year. Those travelers don’t plan on letting rising (though it seems to have dipped a bit lately) gas, airline and hotel room prices stand in their way.

This is great news if you’re already in the tourism business. But if you’re in supporting industries in the areas people will be flocking to (all the normal places like Orlando, Florida, and Branson, Missouri) you could be in for a boom as well. Remember, however, that even though TripAdvisor says 26 percent of Americans plan to spend more on vacations this year than last (while 42 percent say they’ll spend the same), travelers are not quite in a “spare no expense” mindset. While on the road, they’re looking for deals and bargains, so no matter what business you’re in, make sure you offer discounts and promotions.

Not sure if you need to get ready for travelers? Well, here’s where they’re headed, according to TripAdvisor:

  • 50 percent plan to hit the big cities.
  • 40 percent are headed to the ocean.
  • 18 percent are going to a national park.
  • 16 percent are going to the lake.

And the top three most popular vacation destinations this year are New York City, Boston and Washington, DC.