Family drives Christmas travel

More than 75 percent of people who responded to a new survey of said they plan to travel this Christmas season, and 42 percent said they are planning to take a second winter trip between January and March.

The Kayak survey of 1,000 people found that family was a major theme for travelers this year. Fifty percent of the respondents said “spending time with family is the most important factor during the holidays,” according to a news release. At the same time, 40 percent of respondents said they are taking a vacation with their family “instead of spending time at a family member’s home or their own,” Kayak said.

Other results:

  • 35 percent said “all they really want for Christmas is to be with their immediate family”
  • 29 percent said they would rather take a romantic trip with a significant other
  • 39 percent said the economy will not spoil their travel plans
  • 18 percent said they didn’t have the money to travel this year

“Holiday travel has been consistently one of the most resilient practices of Americans. It has withstood economic ups-and-downs since Maritz started tracking it in 2001,” Rick Garlick, director of consulting and strategic implementation for Maritz Research, said in a news release. “However, these are unprecedented times. The data from this study show that the incidence of holiday travel is expected to decline, particularly among lower wage earners.”

A Maritz Poll found that so-called “wealthier Americans” – those making more than $250,000 per year – planned to spend $1,000 more on travel this year.

Meanwhile, a new AAA estimate shows that fewer people will travel this Christmas with about 63.9 million Americans going 50 miles or more from home during the Christmas holiday.

That represents 1.4 million fewer travelers  or 2.1 percent  from the 65.3 million people who traveled at least 50 miles last year. According to AAA, this is the first decline in the number of Christmas travelers since 2002; AAA also projected decreases in the number of travelers for the five major travel holidays this year  Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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