Majority of Americans Plan to Vacation This Summer

by Lydia Saad

July is the favored month

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- According to a recent Gallup poll asking Americans about their vacation plans for this summer, the average American will vacation during the month of July, will vacation for a week or less, and is most likely to stay in the United States but travel to another state.

Just over half of all American adults, 55%, plan on vacationing this summer, according to the May 20-22 survey, consistent with vacation intention rates of the past several years. A majority of likely vacationers tell Gallup they will spend a week or less on their summer vacations; another third will take up to two weeks and just 15% will take more than two weeks. The average number of vacation days planned is 11. July is by far the most popular month for summer vacations, with 51% of Americans saying they will vacation then. August comes in second, followed by June and September.

Month Planning to Take Summer Vacation
May 20-22, 2002

But these plans vary widely by a variety of lifestyle factors, particularly age, employment and income, as well as the region of the country in which one lives.

  • Pre-retirement-age adults are twice as likely as those 65 and older to say they plan on vacationing over the summer (60% of younger Americans vs. 30% of the older group).
  • Consistent with this, vacationing is much more prevalent among employed Americans than among those who are retired, homemakers, or otherwise not working (65% vs. 40%). (However, non-working Americans who do plan to vacation intend to do so for long periods.)
  • The vast majority of those living in high-income households (79% of those making $75,000 or more annually) plan to vacation, compared to only half of middle-income earners (56% of those earning between $20,000 and $74,999) and barely a third of those earning below $20,000 (35%).
  • High-income households also have the luxury of longer vacations. Most of those making $75,000 or more (62%) say they will vacation for more than a week, including 20% who will vacation for more than two weeks. By contrast, the majority of lower-income earners (58%) will spend only a week or less vacationing. And only 13% of this group will vacation for more than two weeks.

Whether the result of weather patterns, cultural differences, or something else, residents of the Eastern United States are much more likely than those living in the Midwest, the South or the West to say they will vacation in August. They are far less likely to plan their vacations for June.

Vacation Month by Region of Country

 

East

Midwest

South

West

%

%

%

%

June

19

33

34

31

July

55

54

51

42

August

52

31

25

35

September

7

9

8

16

Vacationers Favor Tropical Destinations

In addition to asking about specific travel plans this summer, Gallup asked Americans to name the states in which they would most and least like to take a vacation. Hawaii and Florida top the list of preferred states, mentioned by 16% and 15%, respectively. California follows closely in third with 11%. Alaska and Colorado are both mentioned by at least 5% of Americans. A smattering of other states from coast to coast rounds out the list of states mentioned by at least 2%.

New York may have the catchy "I love New York" jingle, but it still ranks first on the list of states in which Americans would least like to vacation, mentioned by 9%. Despite their attractiveness to many, Florida and California rank second and third on this list. Five percent cite Texas as a state they would avoid, just higher than the 3% who favor it.

Survey Methods

These results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,002 adults, 18 years and older, conducted May 20-22, 2002. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Do you plan to take a vacation this summer?

 

Yes

No

No opinion

%

%

%

2002 May 20-22

55

43

2

1999 Jul 16-18

53

46

1

1991 Apr 25-28

59

36

5

1955 Jun 3-8

44

49

7

1954 Jul 2-7

37

51

12

1954-1999 WORDING: Do you plan to take, or have you already taken, a vacation this summer?



How many days in total do you plan to take on your vacation(s) this summer?

BASED ON -- 573 -- ADULTS VACATIONING THIS SUMMER

 

1-7 days

8-14 days

Over 14 days

No opinion

Mean

%

%

%

%

%

2002 May 20-22

51

31

15

2

11

1999 Jul 16-18

37

35

26

2

13

1991 Apr 25-28

26

39

33

2

15

1955 Jun 3-8

34

46

18

2

--

1954 Jul 2-7

39

43

18

*

--



During what month or months are you vacationing this summer? [OPEN-ENDED]

BASED ON -- 563 -- ADULTS VACATIONING AT LEAST ONE DAY THIS SUMMER

 


May


Jun.


Jul.


Aug.


Sep.

No opinion


Total

2002 May 20-22

5%

29

51

35

10

9

139%

1999 Jul 16-18

11%

31

40

44

15

5

146%

1991 Apr 25-28

10%

26

37

27

10

6

116%



Which of the following best describes where you will probably go this summer on your vacation -- [ROTATED: somewhere outside the United States, to another state, (or) somewhere within the state in which you currently live]?

BASED ON -- 563 -- ADULTS VACATIONING AT LEAST ONE DAY THIS SUMMER

 

Outside the U.S.

To another state

Within state

No opinion

2002 May 20-22

16%

62

21

1

1999 Jul 16-18

14%

64

21

1

1991 Apr 25-28

12%

66

22

*



Suppose you could go to any of the 50 states in the U.S. In which state would you especially like to take a vacation? [OPEN-ENDED]

 

2002 May 20-22

1999 Jul 16-18

1991 Apr 25-28

%

%

%

1

Hawaii

16

17

21

2

Florida

15

10

12

3

California

11

12

21

4

Alaska

7

10

13

5

Colorado

5

7

8

6

Arizona

4

3

5

7

New York

4

2

4

8

Texas

3

1

4

9

Washington

2

4

6

10

Montana

2

3

3

11

Nevada

2

2

1

12

Maine

2

4

6

13

Massachusetts

2

1

2

14

South Carolina

2

1

1

Other

17

16

18

None

2

1

1

No opinion

4

3

2

Total

100%

100%

138%



In which state in the United States would you LEAST like to take a vacation? [OPEN-ENDED]

 

2002 May 20-22

1999 Jul 16-18

1991 Apr 25-28

%

%

%

1

New York

9

8

15

2

Florida

7

7

3

3

California

6

7

4

4

Texas

5

7

4

5

Alaska

4

4

3

6

North Dakota

4

4

3

7

Mississippi

3

4

4

8

Alabama

3

2

2

9

New Jersey

2

3

3

10

Illinois

2

2

2

11

Utah

2

2

2

12

Maine

2

1

1

13

Washington

2

1

1

14

Kansas

2

2

5

15

Iowa

2

2

3

16

Arkansas

2

3

2

17

Arizona

2

2

1

18

Idaho

2

2

2

19

Ohio

2

3

2

20

Michigan

2

2

2

21

Nebraska

2

2

2

Other

21

32

18

None

5

3

3

No opinion

7

5

9

Total

100%

100%

100%



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