2012 Summer Travel Report

Austin, Texas // April 17, 2012

New HomeAway Summer Travel Report Reveals
Economic Hardships Highlight Importance of Family Vacations

Travelers largely undeterred by rising gas prices

Undeterred by record-high gas prices and rising airline fuel surcharges, most Americans are set on taking a summer vacation this year, with 70 percent saying that even a brief vacation with friends and family is a necessity in these tough economic times. That’s according to HomeAway, Inc. – the world’s largest online marketplace for vacation rentals – which today released the summer edition of its “HomeAway® Vacation Rental Marketplace Report.”

The report finds half of Americans (51 percent) who plan to take a summer vacation will not make any changes to their travel plans this year due to increased gasoline costs and airline fees.

The rest are more likely to make minor adjustments to their plans rather than cancel their trips altogether. About a quarter (23 percent) say they’ll vacation closer to home; 15 percent say they’ll cut back on lodging, entertainment, dining or other areas; and 5 percent will vacation for fewer days this summer. Only 3 percent say they won’t be taking a trip this year due to high gas prices.

According to the HomeAway report, here’s what some travelers say they’d be willing to give up to afford a vacation, if money was tight:

  • Eating out – 47%
  • New clothes – 21%
  • Beauty treatments (manicures, spa treatments, etc.) – 11%
  • Trips to the coffee house – 11%
  • Home services (lawn care, housekeeping, etc.) – 8%
  • Health club membership – 4%

Why Vacations Are So Important: They Bring Families and Friends Together

Americans take vacation for a number of reasons – to get a break from the stress of everyday life, to create memories, and to see the world – but 84 percent say during these tough economic times the most important part of a vacation is spending time with family and friends. In fact, this aspect of vacation is so important that half of Americans (50 percent) say they always take at least one long vacation lasting a week or more each year because the opportunities for togetherness can’t be matched at home.

With Budget a Concern, Many Opt for Vacation Rentals

While the number of people travelers intend to vacation with (four) and the number of nights they intend to stay (nine) has not changed in the last 12 months, it appears travelers are being more frugal than in previous years. The HomeAway report finds of those who establish a summer vacation budget, travelers plan to pay approximately $375 less on their vacation in 2012 ($3,247) than they did in 2011 ($3,623). However, the amount they intend to spend on accommodations remains steady year-over-year at approximately $1,500.

Additionally, the most concerning thing for travelers when budgeting for a vacation is the cost of accommodations (36 percent), which may be due in part to the fact that they claim to allocate nearly half (47 percent) of their summer vacation budget to a place to stay. The cost of airfare (23 percent) and unforeseen charges and fees (17 percent) were the next two biggest concerns for those budgeting for a vacation.

“It’s no surprise that a large portion of the summer vacation budget goes toward accommodations, but what many people don’t realize is they can significantly reduce their expenses by staying in a vacation rental,” says Brian Sharples, chief executive officer of HomeAway. “With multiple bedrooms and a full kitchen families can travel together more comfortably and more cost effectively than renting multiple hotel rooms. Plus, vacation rentals help foster togetherness and create memories by bringing friends and families under one roof without the distractions back home.”

About half (46 percent) of travelers see the benefits of renting a vacation rental, reporting they will stay in one on their summer vacation. In fact, 16 percent of those travelers are staying in a vacation home rental for the first time this year. Another 18 percent will stay in some other type of accommodation this summer and 36 percent haven’t finalized their plans yet.

Most Popular Summer Vacation Spots Reveal Americans’ Love Affair with the Beach Continues

According to traveler inquiries made on HomeAway.com for stays between Memorial Day and Labor Day, nine of the top 10 most popular summer vacation destinations this year are Atlantic Coast and Gulf Coast beaches. The only exception is Las Vegas, which ranks as the fifth most popular destination. The top 10 includes:

  1. Provincetown, Mass.
  2. Ocean City, Md.
  3. Gulf Shores, Ala.
  4. Miami
  5. Las Vegas
  6. Destin, Fla.
  7. Virginia Beach, Va.
  8. Bethany Beach, Del.
  9. Folly Beach, S.C.
  10. Rehoboth Beach, Del.

About the HomeAway Vacation Rental Marketplace Report:
Data for the HomeAway Vacation Rental Marketplace Report was collected via surveys that polled travelers on vacation rental and travel-related issues. Results from HomeAway, Inc. internal research are based on 3,200 responses received between March 27 and April 9, 2012. Market trends were based on a combination of in-depth research of supplier and consumer markets from the HomeAway, Inc. database. In addition, some data included in the report was collected from a survey conducted by Ipsos on behalf of HomeAway among 1,000 U.S. adults the week of February 20, 2012.

For information contact:
Jaime Dito
Public Relations Manager
HomeAway, Inc.
Office- 512-505-1563

Key Findings:

  • Half of Americans (51 percent) who typically take a summer vacation will not make any changes to their travel plans due to high gas prices; 46 percent will make adjustments, but will still vacation
  • Only 3 percent of travelers won’t travel this year due to high gas prices
  • 84 percent say the most important part of a vacation is spending time with family and friends
  • Summer vacation budgets have decreased $375 since 2011, but the budget for accommodations remains steady



Click on the images below to make them larger: