Expedia Travel Trendwatch finds that 29 percent of US adults plan to take a spring break vacation this year

BELLEVUE, Wash., Feb. 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Expedia®, the world’s leading online travel company, today released the latest issue of the quarterly Expedia Travel Trendwatch™, focused on the upcoming spring travel season. This issue predicts a significantly shorter spring break travel season in 2008 and reveals a peak period in March that could prove to be as busy and expensive as the recent winter holidays. The report also features advice on determining the most affordable time to travel to this spring’s most popular destinations, offers inspiration for less-expensive family getaways centered on sporting events, and provides tips to those yearning for international travel experiences, but are faced with an unfavorable exchange rate that taxes the pocketbook. To view the complete report, please visit http://www.expedia.com/tips.


“Travelers love to celebrate spring break by escaping the winter doldrums and soaking up the sun at home and abroad,” said Chris McGinnis, editor, Expedia Travel Trendwatch. “Those who travel in March might be surprised by large crowds and some higher prices, but those with the flexibility to take trips later in April are going to find better deals, smaller crowds and even nicer weather.”


Key spring travel trends reported in the current issue of the Expedia Travel Trendwatch include:


  1) Know When to go This Spring

— The spring break travel season is shorter this year, just four peak
weeks (March 1-31) compared to the usual six, which could result in
a higher concentration of travelers over a shorter period of time.
Also contributing to increased traffic on the roads and skies are
the St. Patrick’s Day and Easter holidays as well as this year’s
rare convergence of “family” spring break with “student” spring
— To get the best spring travel deals, avoid travel in March when
airfares to the 10 most popular spring break destinations are
running approximately 11 percent higher than last year. Consider
travel in April when fares to these same cities are just two percent
higher than last year and actually show declines for flights to
sunny favorites like Maui and Cancun.
— More Expedia travelers are heading to Florida cities for spring
break this year than last with Ft. Myers and Tampa/St. Petersburg
making the top 10 spring break destinations along with perennial
favorites Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando and Miami.

2) Sporty Spring Breaks
— Sports fans are increasingly incorporating attendance at training
camps, tournaments and even regular season games as part of their
spring break activities. In fact, an Expedia.com poll(1) of 3,079
U.S. adults conducted by Harris Interactive in January 2008 found
that 21 percent of US adults anticipate taking a vacation in order
attend a college or professional sporting event this year.
— In springtime baseball fans descend on training camps in Florida and
Arizona to support their favorites in the Cactus or Grapefruit
league. The front-row baseball action, potential for up-close player
sightings and autographs appeals to the kid in everyone.

3) Southward Migration
— With the dollar at record lows against many major world currencies,
travelers craving international travel are increasingly going south
of the border, year-over-year bookings to Latin America are up seven
percent. Despite this, airfares are flat year-over-year, with an
average round trip price of $489.
— Mexico is the most popular Latin American destination among Expedia
travelers, garnering six times as many bookings as Puerto Rico, the
second most frequented destination in the region. The five most
popular cities are Cabo San Lucas, Mexico City, Guadalajara, Puerto
Vallarta and Cancun.

About Expedia Travel Trendwatch


Expedia Travel Trendwatch is a quarterly report on consumer travel trends, plus insight and tips from Expedia.com, the world’s leading online travel service, and Chris McGinnis, a 20-year travel industry veteran who is the editor of the report. McGinnis’ travel industry insight and expertise, coupled with unparalleled travel intelligence from Expedia.com, can be found throughout each report, providing a treasure trove of data, trends, and tips designed to help empower and inform travelers.


About Chris McGinnis:


Chris McGinnis is the editor of the Expedia Travel Trendwatch. Prior to teaming up with Expedia in early 2006, McGinnis covered the travel beat in a variety of roles, from travel correspondent on CNN Headline News and travel columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Entrepreneur magazine, to producer of special travel sections for Fortune magazine. Based in San Francisco, he is also a speaker, consultant and the author of two books on travel: The Unofficial Business Traveler’s Pocket Guide and 202 Tips Even the Best Business Travelers May Not Know (McGraw-Hill).


About Expedia


Expedia is the world’s leading online travel provider, helping millions of travelers per month easily plan and book travel. Expedia (http://www.expedia.com/) aims to provide personalized service, the latest technology and the widest selection of vacation packages, flights, hotels, rental cars, cruises and in-destination activities, attractions, and services. With the Expedia® Best Price Guarantee, Expedia promises to offer to its customers the best rates available online for all types of travel, making it the most comprehensive customer guarantee in online travel. Expedia is dedicated to positively impacting global tourism by providing travelers environmentally conscious travel options. Expedia is a founding member of the World Heritage Alliance — a joint initiative with the United Nations Foundation to promote sustainable tourism. Expedia is an operating company of Expedia, Inc. (NASDAQ: EXPE).


Expedia, Expedia.com and Travel Trendwatch are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Expedia, Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other logos or product and company names mentioned herein may be the property of their respective owners.


  © 2008 Expedia, Inc. All rights reserved. CST: 2029030-40

About the Expedia.com Consumer Survey


Methodology (this is the full version to be kept on hand in case of questions)


This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Expedia.com between January 10 and January 14, 2008 among 3,079 U.S. adults 18 years of age or older. Results were weighted as needed for region, age within gender, education, household income and race/ethnicity. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.


All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.


Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the U.S. adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to be invited to participate in the Harris Interactive online research panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.


SOURCE: Expedia.com


CONTACT: Erin Krause of Expedia.com, +1-425-679-4317, press@expedia.com


Web site: http://www.expedia.com/