Is the Staycation Over? KAYAK Survey Finds People Will Travel Far and Wide in 2009


NORWALK, Conn., May 11, 2009 — Despite the economy, 95 percent of the more than 4,100 people who participated in KAYAK’s Annual Summer Travel Survey plan to travel this summer. More than 41 percent said the recession did not affect their summer plans in any way — which is double the number from KAYAK’s 2008 survey.

“Thanks to an abundance of travel deals, last year’s Staycation trend appears to be over as we’re seeing consumers using savvy cost-saving strategies to once again embark on a traditional summer vacation,” said Brian Harniman, KAYAK EVP of marketing and distribution. “According to KAYAK’s survey, our users plan to take advantage of historically low airfare and hop on a plane in search of culture and nightlife with trips to domestic and European cities topping the list of destinations being considered. This is a major change from last summer when 64 percent told us they would avoid flying because airfare was too expensive.”

Savvy cost saving tactics replace last year’s Staycation

Thanks to low prices and deals, last year’s trend of vacationing in the backyard or close to home has subsided with a renewed wanderlust for history, culture and beaches. The most popular destinations under consideration include a major American city (65 percent), Europe (42 percent), domestic beaches (34 percent) and the Caribbean (20 percent).

KAYAK’s survey shows that people are also employing several cost saving tactics, including staying with friends or relatives instead of booking a hotel (62 percent); taking advantage of off-season pricing (50 percent); trading down for a less fancy hotel (42 percent); booking a shorter holiday (34 percent); choosing a destination closer to home (32 percent); and booking accommodations with a kitchen and eating in (30 percent).

“The cost of travel is much lower compared to last summer’s weekly fuel increases, so people can more easily afford to travel,” continues Harniman. “We’re seeing more people use our cost-saving tools, such as flexible search, airfare history and fare alerts. We’ve also launched new tools to help people take advantage of all the savings offers out there.”

New Baggage Fee Calculator: In addition to the airline fee chart, KAYAK has integrated baggage fees into the price of a flight. Click on the “calculate baggage fees” link located in the tool box section on results page, enter number of bags and KAYAK will instantly calculate the fee and update the final price.

New Hotel Rate Calendar: KAYAK also launched historical rate information for hotels. People can now view the average daily rate including taxes and fees for two months on any of the 197,389 hotels in the KAYAK database. To view historical rate information for a hotel, click on the link for “rate calendar” provided for each hotel on the results page.

Custom Airports: KAYAK automatically searched nearby airports to find the lowest fares, but now travelers can tell KAYAK which airports matter to them. The “custom” link above the To/From boxes on the flights homepage opens a window with a list of airports and check boxes so you can cherry pick airports you want included in your search.

Recession Proof your Summer 2009 Vacation

— Cruises are a great bargain: The industry’s biggest players have been rolling out promotions to keep ships full this summer. Carnival is offering a five-night Eastern Caribbean Cruise for less than $559 per person. A seven night Southern Caribbean is only $749 per person. Plus, Carnival is offering a bonus 15 percent discount on shore excursions.

— Caribbean in the off-season: Summer is always the most affordable time to visit the Caribbean and deals abound this summer for air and hotel. Low cost carriers such as JetBlue and Spirit keep fares low to destinations such as The Bahamas and Puerto Rico. For many U.S. cities, an early morning flight to The Bahamas has you on the beach by early afternoon.

— Consider Europe: What a difference a year makes. Gone are fuel surcharges that made a cross-continental flight so expensive last year. The dollar is also doing its part and is performing much stronger against the Euro and British Pound. Use Kayak Buzz to get a snapshot of airfare from your home airport to cities in Europe.

— US hot spots offer sizzling deals: There are great bargains to be had in traditionally expensive destinations such as Las Vegas, Hawaii and San Francisco. Or, skip the flight and drive to a city such as Atlanta, Georgia; Austin, Texas; and Nashville, Tenn. These cities offer culture, history, nightlife, museums and more for a fraction of the prices you’ll find in New York or L.A.

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