Affluent consumers are leading the way, with 81% (vs. 73% in 2012) hitting U.S. roads and skies, and 38% (up from 29%) heading to international destinations. With more summer travel trips on the horizon, many Americans expect to spend more too. Thirty-one percent of travelers plan to spend more than $1,000 per person on their summer adventures (up from 27% in 2012) with the total expected summer travel spend averaging $1,145 per person. IT PAYS TO GET AWAY Almost two-thirds of summer travelers (66%) are planning at least one week-long trip (up slightly from 64% last year), and 26% are planning a trip of two weeks or longer (vs. 24% in 2012). While away, more travelers are planning to open their wallets wider and more often, spending more to dine out (53% vs. 44% in 2012) and splurging on activities and experiences (44% vs. 37% in 2012). “With Americans willing to spend more this year on summer travel, there’s a bit more inclination to make each and every vacation moment count,” said Claire Bennett, executive vice president at American Express Travel. “Whether it’s a historical tour of Europe’s capitals or a family beach vacation, consumers are spending the time or money it takes, and relying on expert resources like travel agents, to create authentic experiences with those that matter most.” PACKING PASSIONS INTO TRAVEL When planning a vacation, many travelers are looking to incorporate their personal interests and passions into their travel experiences, including: - Immersing themselves into the local culture (36%) - Planning local shopping trips (30%) - Learning about the local food and cuisine (26%) - Partaking in learning/educational activities (24%) - Visiting historical sites and monuments (23%) TRAVEL AGENTS DEMYSTIFY AND ADVISE Thirty-four percent of consumers admit that they are overwhelmed by all the travel information and resources available online. To help sort through the clutter, more savvy summer travelers will turn to travel agents for help. 10% of summer travelers, (14% of affluent consumers, up 40% from 2012) will use a travel agent to plan and book their trips this summer. 25% admit they feel comfortable booking simple trips on their own, but seek advice from travel agents for more complex itineraries, unfamiliar destinations, and insider tips to make the most out of their vacations. 27% do a bit of bargain-hunting research prior to connecting with a travel agent to ensure they receive the best deals. Consumers will spend a great deal of time traveling domestically, with 44% of summer travelers planning to visit the Southern region of the U.S., 23% heading to the North and 27% fleeing West. Top destinations include: - Florida (21%) - California (15%) - Bahamas (11%) - New York (10%) FAMILY FIRST – UNLESS YOU’RE A “BABYMOONER” Many summer travelers will be making the most of their summer moments by hitting the road as a family (49%), while 36% will travel with a significant other and 11% with friends. While family travel is most popular, solo travel also continues to thrive. In fact, 15% of consumers are flying solo this summer, with 11% of these travelers from the affluent population. A number of high-profile couples are popularizing the ‘Babymoon,' a time for couples to travel alone right before baby arrives. In 2013, expecting parents are planning to enjoy each other’s company before the baby enters the mix, with 37% of consumers with children aged 12 and under considering (or have already taken) a Babymoon. Babymoons have become especially popular among the affluent consumer, with 53% of an affluent audience with kids under age 12 investing in a pre-baby or post-baby getaway.