NEW YORK -- Conservative travelers are more optimistic as a bunch, but liberal travelers are more likely to have a little bit more fun on vacation, according to MMGY's Portrait of the American Travelers 2018-2019 survey.

Steve Cohen, senior vice president of travel insights at MMGY, presented the survey's findings Tuesday at MMGY's office here.

This year, MMGY broke out some traveler sentiments based on political affiliation. Of the 2,967 who responded to the survey, 32% identified themselves as liberals (up from 26% in 2017) and 29% identified themselves as conservative (down from 32% in 2017). The remaining 39% did not identify themselves one way or the other, and that data was not considered for the political insights.

According to Cohen, liberal travelers are likely to have spent more on travel in the past 12 months ($4,859 versus conservatives' $4,188), and plan to spend more in the next 12 months ($4,790 versus $4,165). They are also likely to take more vacations; in the past twelve months, they've taken an average of 3.1 compared to conservatives' 2.7, and in the next 12 months plan to take 2.9 compared to conservatives' 2.5.

As to vacation motivations, most conservatives and liberals said the top one is relaxation (90% of liberals and 94% of conservatives). Statistically, Cohen said liberals are more likely to gravitate more toward five categories than conservatives: exploration, experiencing different cultures, experiencing new cuisines, self-discovery and meeting new people.

A number of liberal and conservative travelers book via OTAs, Cohen said, but liberals tend to visit more travel service provider websites, comparison shopping sites or review websites. Liberal travelers are more likely to use ridesharing and home-sharing than conservative travelers.

MMGY pulled data on optimism, and found conservative travelers are more optimistic as a group about every topic MMGY asked about: the future of their children (86% versus 75%), their own future (82% versus 77%), the future of their jobs (74% versus 67%), the future of the company they work for (70% versus 58%), the future of America (66% versus 22%) and the future of the world (49% versus 32%).

And as to vacation behaviors, liberals on vacation reported eating more, drinking more alcohol and having more sex than their conservative peers.

"So you might come to the conclusion that while conservatives are much more optimistic about the future and all those things that we showed, if you're going to go on vacation it looks like a liberal is having a little bit more fun," Cohen said.


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