The great American road trip

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    April 22, 2013

    Summer, Road Trip, News

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To mark the unofficial start of summer, Expedia.com® has commissioned a study of the American summer traveler and launched a new travel blog.

A new Expedia study shows more Americans plan to take road trips this Summer than last Summer. The American Traveler study, conducted by Harris Interactive, finds that Americans’ love of the open road burns brighter than ever. View press release.

To celebrate the open road, Expedia's new travel blog “Expedia ViewfinderTM,” is featuring favorite road trips.“Expedia ViewfinderTM,” pairs the resources of the world’s largest online travel agency with the deep travel knowledge of a diverse set of independent travel bloggers.

50% of Americans plan to take a road trip of more than 200 miles this summer, and are 14% likelier to take a road trip in 2013 than they were the year prior.

Expedia Viewfinder will give readers extensive travel content, including real-time travel coverage from around the world alongside insights for travelers across categories, such as the budget-minded, the luxury-minded, LGBT, solo wandererscouples and families.

Readers can learn where to find the best shaved ice in Hawaii, learn which hotels in the Riviera Maya are most romantic, what cruises feature the fewest children, and much more. 

 “Travel is inherently one of the most social experiences we do today, so partnering with travel bloggers – the people who live their entire lives on the open road – makes perfect sense,” said Sarah Gavin, director of PR and social media at Expedia Worldwide.

“Expedia delivers access to over 205,000 hotels, hundreds of airlines, countless logistical possibilities. Travel bloggers bring a huge amount of real-world experience and each has their own perspective. Bringing our expertise together means Expedia travelers can not just feel confident that they are getting a great deal and a great set of choices, but that the trip they are taking is going to be just right for them. Our American Traveler study proves that the national appetite for travel is undiminished, so we aim to give Americans every resource and insight they might need to get moving.”

The American Traveler Study is in its second year. The study was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive, on behalf of Expedia.com, from May 20-22, 2013, among 2,341 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.

Expedia’s travel bloggers have each created their own perfect road trip recommendations to accompany the launch of this year’s study which can be viewed on the Expedia Viewfinder blog.

The Expedia Viewfinders include:


Survey Results

96% of Americans listen to music on road trips. The most popular road-trip genre is classic rock; nearly a third (32%) of Americans plan to make classic rock their road-trip soundtrack of choice. Country and pop are preferred by 15%, followed by R&B/Hip Hop (12%), classical jazz (4%) and dance/techno (4%). A full 14% refused to specify a category, choosing “Other.”

As part of the Expedia Viewfinder launch, Expedia’s travel bloggers are creating their own Spotify road trip playlists to celebrate the importance of music to the great American roadtrip.

Surprisingly, among the 50% of Americans planning a road trip this summer, half will travel with children and half without. For both groups, the top iconic destination is:

  • The Grand Canyon (22% cited it as their favored landmark), then;
  • Mount Rushmore (11%), then;
  • The Statue of Liberty (10%) and then;
  • Washington’s National Mall (8%).

The biggest deterrent to a summer road trip is high gas prices, at 64%. Additional deterrents include:

  • Taking time off from work – 36%
  • Traffic – 30%
  • Kids fighting in the back seat – 22%
  • No desire – 8%
  • Lack of personal space- 6%
  • Back-seat driving from fellow passengers – 5%
  • Other – 12%
  • And nothing (no deterrents at all) – 13%

Unsurprisingly, “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. 68% of Americans report that their children play games (on tablets, smartphones, computers and handheld game systems) on the road.

  • 61% of traveling kids listening to music through headphones;
  • 60% watch movies or TV shows on a mobile device;
  • 40% play interactive games with the family (“I Spy,” for example); and
  • 38% of children read books.

Mobile devices are critical to the travel experience. While on a road trip:

  • Nearly half (46%) of Americans use smartphones to share status updates on social media sites during road trips;
  • 82% of Americans use smartphones the old-fashioned way, to make calls;
  • Nearly three-fourths (73%) of Americans use smartphones for maps and directions;
  • 71% use smartphones to check email;
  • 70% use them to send texts;
  • 64% use them to take travel photos;
  • 46% use them for games; and
  • One-fourth (25%) use smartphones to book hotel rooms from the road.

Despite the romantic notion of the sudden, hop-in-and-go road trip, most Americans plan them with some care. Among those planning a road trip this summer,

  • 63% plan to book more than two weeks in advance;
  • Only one-fourth (24%) plan to drive right up to a hotel to ask about vacancy;
  • One-fifth (20%) do book last-minute hotel deals through travel booking websites;
  • 12% report in the survey that they engage in mobile bookings while on the road; and
  • 16% don’t book hotels at all – they camp or stay with friends.

Survey Methodology

This study was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive, on behalf of Expedia.com, from May 20-22, 2013, among 2,341 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

 

Expedia compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site, such compensation may include travel and other costs.

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