From the settlers of long ago to the busy business traveler of today, Americans have always been a people on the move. But how many of us are planning to vacation in 2017? It depends on who you ask!
Vacation and travel experts are anticipating a slight drop in demand in travel this year, which is completely normal in a post-election year, as the political and economic climates slowly settle back toward normal. But fewer travelers on the road and in the skies could have some big upsides; in fact, it could mean incredible chances for smart travelers to snatch up great deals with just a little bit of planning and creativity.
First, the numbers. According to AAA, more than one third of Americans (35%) are planning to take a vacation of 50 miles or more away from home involving two or more immediate family members this year; while most families are planning to take just one or two trips, a full 28% of those surveyed also anticipate going on three or more vacations, a full 13 percentage points higher than in 2016.
Of course, that leaves a large number of people who are not planning on vacationing this year; per Fluent, nearly half of all Americans aren’t planning on taking a vacation at all in 2017. Of those who are planning to travel, about 45% are planning on vacationing only domestically, according to Fluent’s findings.
AAA predicts a similarly low-key family travel itinerary, with the family road trip and visits to affordable destinations like national parks and theme parks dominating survey responses; meanwhile, only about 33% of respondents plan to travel internationally. Interestingly, experts are also anticipating a sharp decline in foreign tourists visiting the U.S. this year; online booking websites report a 6 to 17% drop in interest in flying to the United States since January of 2017, according to the Boston Globe. This drop in international tourism could lead to economic stagnation for the travel industry here in the U.S., returning it to post-9/11 levels.
The silver lining? As Christopher Elliott notes in the Washington Post, “If you look for bargains, you’ll probably find them. Reduced travel demand, lower energy prices and a strong dollar could set the stage for some real steals.”
Overall, the price of airfare and hotel accommodations is expected to rise just about 3 to 5% in 2017, according to Travel Leaders Network and Leisure Group. Because of the rise of alternative accommodation options, such as the vacation rentals popularized by Airbnb, there may be a greater supply of affordable hotel rooms available, making it easier to secure on-demand bookings at the last minute,