The portion of Americans (57%) taking a summer vacation will rise this year, up three percentage points from last year, according to the research conducted by Allianz Global Assistance USA, the seller of travel insurance formerly known as Access America.
That portion also is comfortably above the 50% of Americans who say they typically take a summer vacation, defined as traveling at least 100 miles from home for a week.
The survey — Allianz Travel Insurance Summer Vacation Confidence Index — also measures a factor it calls the “vacation deficit,” meaning the portion of Americans who think a summer vacation is important but not confident they can take one this year.
This is one deficit that is shrinking, Allianz said, with 18% reporting they probably cannot take a vacation this summer despite its value, down from 24% in 2011 and 28% in 2010.
The Allianz survey also measured a number of traveler practices, or foibles, as follows:
• Among those who expect to take a summer vacation this year, 52% are using social media for ideas. Facebook is the top source, with 29% turning to sources there; planners also turn to TripAdvisor (14%), Twitter (6%) and Pinterest (4%).
Seventy-three percent of younger travelers, ages 18 to 34, regardless of travel intent, turn to social media, whereas 45% of those ages 35 to 55 and 24% of those 56 and older do the same.
• Travelers cope with long airport delays in many ways, starting with those who call their travel agent or go online to rebook (28%). Others turn to the phone, Skype or e-mail to communicate with friends and family (24%), take a nap (19%) or buy celebrity magazines to kill time (9%).
There are some differences in behavior by age and gender. A third of young adults are more likely to use phones and computers to reach friends and family, as compared with a quarter (24%) of all travelers generally. Women are twice as likely to bury themselves in magazines, 11% vs. 6%.
• Everyone makes mistakes, but the biggest ones — to which travelers will confess — are overpacking and arriving late at the airport, causing them to miss or nearly miss flights. Younger travelers are more likely to commit these faux pas.
Thirty percent of young adults confessed to having, at least once, overpacked and paid extra for checked bags, compared with the overall average of 23%. Also, 24% said they have not left enough time to get to the airport, compared with 20% as an overall average.
Among travelers generally, 7% admitted they didn’t follow security regulations or carried prohibited items in their luggage, causing them to miss or nearly miss a flight.
The most embarrassing confession? Four percent admitted they had missed or nearly missed a flight because they sat too long in the airport lounge/bar.
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