Never mind the hike. Where’s the hammock?
A new poll about summer travel finds that the No. 1 thing Americans want to do on vacation is … nothing.
Almost three-fourths of Americans say resting and relaxing is very or extremely important to them when they go on vacation, according to the survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Among those dreaming about kicking back is Yari Blanco of Brooklyn, N.Y., who recently tweeted, “Your girl needs a vacation. The kind where you lay by a crystal blue beach and nap in a hammock.” Blanco, who’s been busy working on a website she recently launched called TheGirlMob, hopes to squeeze in some relaxation time in July and maybe a trip later this year to Portugal.
Interestingly, most Americans say staying home and doing nothing isn’t ideal. Instead, they want a change of scenery. Of those who plan a summer vacation, 92 percent are going away, and only 8 percent are making it a staycation. More than half of those polled said relaxing at home doesn’t count as a real vacation.
How about unplugging?
Only 22 percent “completely disconnect” while on vacation. A third don’t even try to get away from the internet and social media. Some of those surveyed — 42 percent — say they dial back their time online a little.
Americans under 30 are the most plugged in. Just 13 percent say they’re likely to completely disconnect on vacation.
But most Americans do avoid working on vacation. Sixty percent of workers say they don’t check in with work at all when on vacation, while 32 percent say they work or check in a little. Eight percent might fall into the workaholic category: They work or check in with the office “a lot.”
The term “bleisure” has been a buzzword recently in the travel industry, describing a combination of business and leisure travel. But most Americans (69 percent) don’t consider extending a business trip to be a real vacation.
Top vacation activities
Sightseeing was ranked important by 55 percent of those surveyed, followed by experiencing local culture and cuisine (51 percent), visiting family (46 percent) and spending time in nature (45 percent).
But there’s a gender gap. Shopping is more popular with women than men (22 percent versus 9 percent), and women also prioritize sightseeing (60 percent versus 49 percent) and visiting family (52 percent versus 40 percent) more than men.
Many Americans support more government regulations on airlines — perhaps a logical response to recent headlines over passengers being hauled off flights in disputes with airline staff. Six in 10 respondents want the government to regulate airline policies for bumping passengers and handling overbooked flights. Nearly half would like to see more regulation regarding flight delays and cancellations.
Shiva Rajagopal of Fort Lee, N.J., is among those supporting regulations to bar airlines from forcing people off flights. “I’ve had a couple of bad experiences being bumped out of flights,” he said. Airlines shouldn’t be able to do it “no matter what the compensation is,” he said, because sometimes “you have to be in a particular place at a particular time.”
The stereotypical image of families piling into a car for a summer trip isn’t too far from reality. Among married couples, 87 percent vacation with their spouses. Among parents, 87 percent vacation with their kids. Three-fourths of vacationing parents will drive rather than fly.
Most vacationers, married or not, travel with others. Overall, 68 percent will travel with a spouse or significant other, and 49 percent will travel with other relatives or friends. Just 14 percent of vacationers will travel solo, including about a quarter of unmarried travelers.
Sixty-one percent of vacationers say they’ll drive, 31 percent will fly and 4 percent will cruise. Another 1 percent will go by train, 2 percent by bus.
Time versus money
Half of the public expects to spend less than $1,000 for their summer holiday, and half anticipate laying out more.
Time is the luxury most people desire. Nearly two-thirds of Americans would prefer a less extravagant but longer vacation.
For accommodations, hotels and motels are most popular, used by 45 percent of summer vacationers. Another 22 percent will stay with friends or relatives. Rentals of homes, condos or apartments were the choice of 17 percent, while 9 percent will sleep in a tent, cabin or RV.
The poll also found, in results released previously, that 43 percent of Americans won’t take a summer vacation, with 49 percent of nonvacationers saying they can’t afford it. Another 11 percent said they can’t take time off from work, while 3 percent said they don’t like to be away from work. The survey also found that 41 percent of working Americans do not get paid vacation time from their employers.