Expedia: 40% of U.S. leisure travelers unaffected by downturn

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Forty percent of Americans reported that the economic downturn over the past few years has not affected their personal/leisure travel, according to Expedia.com's American Traveler survey.

The survey found that most people "travel as usual," particularly those between 35 and 44 years of age (46%).

"Our data shows that even though Americans are taking fewer flights, they are booking more hotel nights," Joe Megibow, vice president and general manager of Expedia.com, said in a statement. "We believe that Americans are proving to be resilient in a down economy, by driving instead of flying and taking more frequent, shorter trips."

The survey also found that just under one quarter of Americans (23%) are "at least somewhat likely" to travel internationally in the next year.

Expedia.com said the study was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive on behalf of Expedia from Feb. 16 to 20, among 2,262 adults ages 18 and older.

"The study also showed how important friends and family were to the travel experience," Megibow said. "Friends and family were the most important resource when choosing a hotel. Social networks are enabling new reach when seeking advice on travel, and we are thrilled to be able to help share that knowledge."

The survey also found that 75% of those who travel use social media, with 51% of respondents saying they use it to stay connected while on a trip.

The study indicated that social media has led to less frequent visits among some families: 12% of Americans said they were less likely to visit their family in person thanks to social media. Twenty-five percent, meanwhile, say they were more likely to visit family in person.

Follow Johanna Jainchill on Twitter @jjainchilltw.

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