Pack Up the Car, Honey—We’re Going on Vacation!

Americans are ready to get away, but not to get away too far. Polls agree that a majority of people will take a vacation this summer, though the numbers expected to do so range widely—from 78 percent in an American Consumer Opinion Online poll to 70 percent in an Accenture survey to 55 percent in a Gallup poll. There’s similar agreement that most vacationers will stay within the U.S.—as, indeed, they tended to do even before Sept. 11. RoperASW found 82 percent of vacationers planning to stay within the continental U.S. Summing up its findings on the matter, Gallup said the typical vacationer this summer “is most likely to stay in the U.S. but travel to another state.” Polls yield a mixed forecast on vacationers’ spending. In a survey conducted for, 45 percent said they’ll spend less this summer than last. Among men, the “spend less” tally was almost identical to the “spend more” vote, while women were about twice as likely to say “spend less” as to say “spend more.” Meanwhile, a survey commissioned by the Associated Press found half of vacationers saying they’ll spend as much this summer as last and one-quarter saying they’ll probably spend more. However much cash they spend, where will people spend their time? The AP poll found the beach is the most popular destination, followed by the mountains, a big city and a theme park. Noting that drought conditions are likely to bring restrictions on recreational use of lakes and reservoirs, the Leisure Trends Group forecasts ocean-front destinations “will fill early.” In the American Consumer Opinion Online poll, 18 percent of vacationers said they plan to visit Florida this summer. (Apparently global warming isn’t happening quickly enough to suit them.) Gallup found Florida ranking second only to Hawaii on the list of states where Americans would especially like to vacation. California, Alaska and Colorado filled out the top five. And which states would people especially like to avoid on their vacations? New York was tops, followed by Florida, California, Texas and Alaska.