Beaches are the top vacation destination for 2012, says TripAdvisor survey

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Travelers are setting their sights on the beach above all other vacation destinations in 2012, according to a survey of 2,700 U.S. travelers. The survey, released  by the online travel site TripAdvisor, found that despite the current economic climate, 31 percent anticipate they will spend more on leisure travel next year, while 49 percent expect to spend the same amount as they did in 2011.

Seventy-nine percent of respondents plan to spend a minimum of $3,000 on vacations in the coming year, 57 percent will pay out at least $5,000 and 21 percent will invest $10,000 or more on 2012 leisure travel.

Ninety percent of respondents are planning to take two or more leisure trips next year, and 24 percent are planning five or more getaways.

The top trip picks travelers are planning for 2012 are:

  • Beach trip – 44%
  • Cultural trip (e.g., visiting museums or historic sites) – 42%
  • Road trip – 40%
  • City trip – 36%
  • Guys or girlfriends getaway – 24%

Vacationers also are planning to increase cruising and “castaway experiences,” the survey found.

Those planning cultural trips are up from 38 percent in 2011 to 42 percent  in 2012. Similar increase were found for cruises, up from 19 percent  to 23 percent , and island escapes, up from 22 percent  to 24 percent .

Amusement/theme park trips are down from 14 percent  to 12 percent , lake trips from 14 percent  to 12 percent,  and hiking trips from 11 percent  to 10 percent .

Sixty-eight percent plan to travel outside the U.S. in 2012 and among these globetrotters, 54 percent will visit Europe, 52 percent will go to a North American destination outside the U.S. (such as Canada or Mexico), and 12 percent will travel to Asia.

The top three international cities U.S. travelers plan to visit are Paris, London and Rome. The top three U.S. cities for 2012 are New York City, Las Vegas and San Francisco.

Plans for lodgin in 2012 are pretty stable or just slightly up from last year, with 66% planning on vacation rentals, 26% B&Bs, and 18% all-inclusive resorts. Planned hotels stays (83%) and staying with friends and family (43%) are down slightly from last year.

Vacationers were asked about their use of mobile devices while away:

  • 44 percent of U.S. travelers plan on using their mobile phone or smartphone more as a travel resource during trips in 2012.
  • 47 percent expect to use their mobile device for their travel needs at their destination.
  • 37 percent will use a mobile device for restaurants research, 27 percent will use one for attractions research, and 26 percent will use one for accommodations research.
  • 31 percent plan to use travel apps on their mobile device or smartphone in 2012.
  • 16 percent plan to use travel apps on their tablet devices.

The top eco-friendly travel actions for 2012 are:

  • Participating in a hotel’s linen or towel re-use program – 71%
  • Switching off the air-conditioning or heat when leaving the hotel room – 51%
  • Select a hotel specifically for its “green” or environmentally-conscious credentials – 12%

“U.S. travelers will be spreading their wings far and wide in 2012, with 68 percent planning international trips,” said Karen Drake, senior director of communications for TripAdvisor. “Sun and sand remain an enduringly popular choice, but the coming year will also see a renewed interest in cultural trips, as Americans seek to combine precious downtime with enriching experiences.”


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About TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel site, enabling travelers to plan and have the perfect trip. TripAdvisor offers trusted advice from real travelers and a wide variety of travel choices and planning features (including Flights search, TripAdvisor Mobile and Instant Personalization) with seamless links to booking tools.

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