The Travel Professor
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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Expedia Study Shows More Americans Plan to Take Road Trips This Summer

Half of Americans plan to take a road trip of more than 200 miles this summer, according to Expedia’s American Traveler survey. In addition, Americans are 14 percent likelier to take a road trip in 2013 than they were the year prior.

In other survey findings: 96 percent of Americans listen to music on road trips. Among the 50 percent of Americans planning a road trip this summer, half will travel with children. For both groups, the top iconic destinations are the Grand Canyon (with 22 percent citing it), Mount Rushmore (11 percent), the Statue of Liberty (10 percent), and Washington's National Mall (8 percent).

The biggest deterrent to a summer road trip is high gas prices, at 64 percent. Additional deterrents include taking time off from work (36 percent), traffic (30 percent), kids fighting in the back seat (22 percent), no desire (8 percent), lack of personal space (6 percent), and back-seat driving from fellow passengers (5 percent). Twelve percent said “other,” and 13 percent said there are no deterrents.

“Entertaining the kids” is the top priority for those who plan to take an extended road trip with children. Mobile games top the list of in-car entertainment. And 68 percent of Americans report that their children play games (on tablets, smartphones, computers and handheld game systems) on the road.

While on a road trip, 46 percent of Americans use smartphones to share status updates on social media sites; 82 percent use smartphones to make calls; 73 percent use them for maps and directions; 71 percent use them to check email; 70 percent use them to send texts; 64 percent use them to take travel photos; 46 percent use them for games; and 25 percent use them to book hotel rooms from the road.

Among those planning a road trip this summer, 63 percent plan to book more than two weeks in advance; 24 percent plan to drive right up to a hotel to ask about vacancy; 20 percent take advantage of last-minute hotel deals through travel booking websites; 12 percent book via their mobile devices while on the road; and 6 percent don't book hotels at all (they camp or stay with friends).