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Travel Continues to Rebound; Nearly 60% of Americans Plan to Hit the Road this Summer

More Americans will take a vacation this summer, and more are getting an early start, according to the third annual Allianz Travel Insurance Summer Vacation Confidence Index released today by Allianz Global Assistance USA.

 

Nearly 60 percent of Americans (57 percent) are likely to hit the road this season, up three points from last year and exceeding the 50 percent of Americans who say they typically take a summer vacation, traveling at least 100 miles from home for a week.  The vacation uptick is the result of those reporting they have already gotten away – 13 percent, up five points from last year – paired with the 44 percent of Americans who are confident they’ll take a vacation before summer’s end. 

 

The Index also found more good news for the travel industry – America’s “vacation deficit” is shrinking.  Measured by taking the proportion of those who think a vacation is important but are not confident that they’ll get one this year, the “deficit” dropped to 18 percent, down six points from last year and ten from the year before.

 

“With the rebound of summer vacation travel, we’ve seen an increase in travel insurance sales,” said Daniel Durazo, director of communications with Allianz Global Assistance USA.  “This is especially true for bigger ticket purchases such as trips to London for the Olympics – the travel highlight this season.”     

 

Facebook Leads the Search for Travel Ideas

 

Social media continues to grow in popularity to provide consumers with travel guidance and inspiration. Among those confident they will take a summer vacation, a majority (52 percent) are using social media for inspiration.  Facebook is the favorite site, used by nearly three in ten (29 percent); runner-up sites include TripAdvisor (14 percent), Twitter (6 percent), and Pinterest (4 percent).

 

It’s no surprise that young adults, 18 – 34, regardless of whether or not they intend to travel this year, are more likely to peruse Facebook, tweet, and pin to plan their travel (73 percent), than their parents’ generation, 35 - 55 (45 percent), or grandparents’, those 55+ (24 percent).   

 

Bumps in the Road:  Older Travelers Cope, Younger Travelers Tend to Roll with the Punches

Most seasoned travelers have one airport nightmare that they wouldn’t want to relive; however, sometimes hiccups are inevitable.

Asked how they would spend time if their flight was delayed for hours, most said they would get right down to business and immediately call their travel agent or get in line to rebook (28 percent), while others would catch up with friends and family via phone, Skype, or email (24 percent), catch some zzz’s (19 percent), or load up on celebrity magazines (9 percent).  Young adults said they are more likely to jump on their cells or computers to connect with friends and family (33 percent vs. 24 percent for travelers generally).  And women were twice as likely as men to buy magazines (11 percent vs. 6 percent).

 

Leading Airport Faux Pas:  Overpacking, Late Airport Arrivals

 

While the generational divide on how travelers use social media is unsurprising, the survey also found that there is a strong split between young adults, middle-aged travelers, and older Americans when it comes to attitudes on how to handle a flight delay and other airport mishaps. 

 

Younger Americans are more likely to have committed an airport faux pas – overpacking and arriving late – causing them to miss or almost miss their flights.  Among their top confessions: they are more likely to have overpacked and paid extra fees for checking luggage than travelers generally (30 percent vs. 23 percent) and they are more likely not to have left enough time to get to the airport (24 percent vs. 20 percent).

 

Among travelers generally, seven percent say they didn’t follow security regulations or had prohibited items in their luggage and missed or nearly missed their flight as a result.  Fewer (four percent) said they have missed or nearly missed their flight because they’ve sat in the airport lounge/bar for too long.   

For more information about Allianz Global Assistance USA, please visit allianzassistance.com and to learn more about Allianz Travel Insurance plans, please visit allianztravelinsurance.com.  For travel inspiration and/or insight, like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/AllianzTravelInsuranceUS or follow us on Twitter  @AllianzTravelUS.

The Allianz Travel Insurance Summer Vacation Confidence Index is based on a telephone survey conducted by Ipsos June 7 –June 12, 2012 of a nationally representative sample of 1,000 randomly-selected adults aged 18 and over residing in the U.S.  With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate within ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire population of adults in the U.S. been polled. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. These data were weighted to ensure the sample's regional and age/gender composition reflects that of the actual U.S. population according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

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