Leisure Travel Poised to Make a Comeback in 2011

TripAdvisor recently released its annual travel trends survey of more than 3,000 U.S. travelers. Americans appear eager to pack their bags in the coming year, as 36% plan to spend more on leisure travel in 2011 than this year, while 42% expect to spend the same amount. Ninety percent plan to take two or more leisure trips next year — a slight increase on the 89% who said they have done so in 2010. 

While travelers named an increase in online travel deals as the best travel development of 2010 (39%), rising airfares (40%) and bedbugs (20%) are the top two travel concerns for 2011.

On the Road Again: Travel in 2011

  • 75% of respondents plan to visit a U.S. city next year, with Las Vegas, New York City and San Francisco the most popular choices.
  • Vacation rentals will be a popular lodging choice in 2011, with 47% considering a stay in a vacation rental home – a significant increase compared to 39% one year ago.

Up in the Air

  • Despite being fed up with airline fees, 24% of travelers plan to fly more next year, while 60% will fly the same amount.
  • Shelling-​out for in-​flight extras is becoming second nature to travelers, with 77% expecting to do so in 2011 – up from 72% one year ago.
  • In-​flight manners leave much to be desired, with the top flyer faux pas revealed to be people kicking the seat back (28%). Rude seat recliners (20%) and passengers sneezing or coughing without covering their mouths (18%) further aggravate travelers.
  • 27% would pay to sit in a child-​free section of an airplane, while 19% would pay to sit in a quiet section, should such an option ever exist.
  • 65% think passengers of size should be required to pay for an extra seat on an airline when necessary.

Top Five Vacation Activities for 2011:

  1. Visiting an historic site – 85%
  2. Visiting a museum – 73%
  3. Visiting a national park – 46%
  4. Attending a festival – 43%
  5. Hiking – 42%

Popular Pursuits and Eco-​Traveling in 2011

  • Further popular pursuits among travelers for the year ahead include water activities (38%), visiting a spa (33%) and gambling (29%).
  • When asked what travel activities they might try for the first time in 2011, 11% chose a cruise, while 11% are also considering taking an educational course on vacation.
  • 47% will take eco-​friendly factors in to consideration, such as their carbon footprint or "green" hotel policies, when making travel plans in 2011.
  • 20% expect to be more environmentally conscious in their travel decision and choices next year.

"With over a third of travelers revealing that they start planning their vacations more than six months before a trip, many Americans are already eagerly anticipating some terrific travel adventures for 2011," said Karen Drake, senior director of communications for TripAdvisor. "Online travel deals, named as the greatest travel development of 2010, will continue to offer aspiring vacationers fantastic opportunities next year – whether they're planning a nearby weekend getaway, or the dream trip of a lifetime."

[Source:  TripAdvisor 2011 Travel Survey.  TripAdvisor Media Group.  9 Nov. 2010.  Web.  11 Nov. 2010.]