Experts Point to Trend of Trading Long Vacations for Quick Weekend Getaways

NEW YORK – April 3, 2019 – With the biggest travel season only a few months away, the digital team at Travel Channel, the world’s leading travel media brand, today unveiled its first-ever Summer Travel Forecast, which highlights Americans’ preferences for summer vacations. The study, conducted in February 2019 by Travel Channel and Open Mind Strategy, provides interesting data points regarding where travelers are headed, how long they are vacationing and where they are staying so consumers can stay informed. Based on this year’s information, Americans will be trading long vacations for multiple short trips, making summer 2019 the season of weekend getaways.

“Americans save their money all year long for summer vacations. The planning should be fun, but it’s often stressful and time-consuming,” said Jillian St. Charles, SVP of Digital Programming & Video for Home and Travel at Discovery Digital Studios. “Whether it’s a weekend getaway or a long family vacation, we can help them make good choices when booking their trips.”

The following are top insights gleaned from Travel Channel’s Summer Travel Forecast:

Long Summer Vacations vs. Quick Getaways

Over half of Americans don’t feel the need to take one momentous summer vacation, with 53 percent planning to take weekend trips monthly+ and 55 percent preferring several summer weekend getaways to a momentous summer vacation. The vast majority of Americans want to hit the road this summer, with 81 percent of people saying they would love to take a road trip, increasing to 87% among those who have kids.

Relaxation is still at the top of travelers’ lists, with 63 percent of respondents noting they’d rather visit the beach than the mountains, and 55 percent saying they’d rather visit the countryside than a city. Expense is a major factor in decision making, with over half of those polled who have kids stating that major cities are too expensive.

To combat the crowds, Travel Channel experts suggest visiting lesser-known destinations that are easily accessible but still have a lot of activities to offer for all travelers. Smaller cities like Richmond, Indianapolis, Chattanooga, and Albuquerque are excellent hubs for arts, food and culture. Beach communities like Surfside, Florida and Long Beach, CA can pose a welcome contrast to their bigger, busier neighbors. Finally, affordable adventures in national parks like Channel Islands, Congaree, Isle Royale, and North Cascades don’t suffer as much as amusement parks from huge summer crowds.

Feeling at Home: Vacation Rentals Nearly as Popular as Hotels

For some travelers, feeling like you’re at home while on vacation is a desired experience. While the majority of Americans (89 percent) are interested in staying in hotels, 77 percent are interested in staying in a rental house when on vacation, 80 percent of whom are those with kids. In fact, travelers are more likely to opt to stay in home rentals given the majority (57 percent) agree they sometimes enjoy cooking while on vacation.

Travel Channel experts suggest booking home rentals, especially in popular destinations or during the holiday season, a minimum of 2 months in advance to avoid having to stay in accommodations that don’t meet your needs. While hotel prices can fluctuate, the experts suggest booking 6 weeks to 3 months in advance.

Travelers Look to Family and Friends for Recommendations

When it comes to planning a trip, the majority of Americans (58 percent) find new places to vacation based on recommendations from family and friends. However, others go to travel review websites (48 percent) or look to social media influencers and personalities (35 percent) when finding a destination.

Travel Channel experts suggest choosing your summer vacation destination based on its travel season. Visiting locations during their low or shoulder season can be a great budget-friendly alternative to traditionally expensive summer hot spots.


This survey was conducted online by Open Mind Strategy on behalf of Discovery Digital Studios, fielded February 1 – February 4, 2019, among 2,078 nationally representative respondents.


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