One-Third of Americans Less Likely to Travel This Summer Due to Economic Outlook

However, summertime leisure travel plans are up from last year

Jun 19, 2013, 05:00 ET from Harris Interactive

NEW YORK, June 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Many people have fond memories of those summer vacations of their youth – hanging out at the beach with siblings, getting told by Dad to be quiet or he'll pull the car over, and just relishing the time with friends and family. But is it still the same? With most schools now out for the year and Fourth of July around the corner, summer travel is set to kick into high gear for this season. But actual plans for travel are mixed; while the percentage of Americans indicating they plan on taking at least one leisure trip this summer (64%) is up slightly from 2012 (60%), there are indications that more would like to do so but feel held back.


While just over two in five (43%) say that the economy has no impact on their travel plans, one-third of Americans (34%) indicate that their outlook on the U.S. economy makes them less likely to travel over the summer. This is down slightly from 2012, when 36% said they would be less likely to travel due to the economy.

These are among the findings from a Harris Poll of 2,276 U.S. adults (aged 18 and older) surveyed online from March 13-18, 2013 by Harris Interactive. (Full findings and data tables available here)

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of Americans plan on taking at least one leisure trip from May through October, up from 60% in 2012. In contrast, the 17% of Americans anticipating one or more business trips within that same timespan is down slightly from 2010 and 2012 (19% each) and considerably from 2009 (23%).

  • Men are more likely than women to anticipate at least one leisure trip (68% men, 61%), and are more than twice as likely to anticipate one or more business trips (24%-11%).
  • Additionally, those living in households with children under 18 are significantly more likely than those without to be anticipating both one or more leisure trips (69%-62%) and one or more business trips (26%-14%).

Vacationers (those expecting to take one or more leisure trips over the summer) anticipate spending an average of $1,665 for summer leisure travel overall; business travelers anticipate spending $2,231 on average.

Beachy Keen

When asked which type of destination they plan on visiting during their leisure travel this summer, the highest percentage of vacationers (38%) say they'll be hitting a beach location, followed by downtown/center of a city (27%), countryside/rural (23%) and national/state park (23%). Roughly two in ten are planning a theme park  trip (21%), mountain location excursion (19%), suburban/on the edge of a large or small city (19%), or a leisure/discovery vacation (17%), while one in ten plan on taking a cruise (10%) or visiting an international location (9%).

  • Younger vacationers (Echo Boomers and Gen Xers) are more likely than their older counterparts (Baby Boomers and Matures) to be planning either a beach vacation (45% Echo Boomers, 47% Gen Xers, 32% Baby Boomers, 27% Matures) or a theme park trip (31%, 25%, 14% and 6%, respectively).
  • Men appear more attracted to the outdoors, as they are more likely than women to be planning a trip to a national or state park (28% men, 17% women) or a mountain location (24% men, 14% women).
  • Those in households with children under 18 are more likely than those without to be planning beach (47% with, 34% without), theme park (35% with, 13% without) and cruise (15% with, 7% without) vacations, while those without are more likely to be planning trips to suburban destinations (21% without, 14% with).
  • Urbanites are significantly more likely than either their suburban or rural counterparts to be planning international leisure travel for the summer (15% urban, 8% suburban, 4% rural).

To see other recent Harris Polls, please visit the Harris Poll News Room.


This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between March 13 and 18, 2013 among 2,276 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. 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 adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

The Harris Poll® #37, June 19, 2013
By Larry Shannon-Missal, Harris Poll Research Manager

About Harris Interactive

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