Big Spenders to Fan Out for Summer Break

As temperatures rise and the official start of summer nears, just over half of Americans are planning a break from the daily grind. And in a positive sign for the travel business, twice as many plan to spend more than usual on their vacation than plan to spend less.

Fifty-three percent in this ABC News/Washington Post poll plan to take a vacation away from home this summer, about as many as in the last few years. While 51 percent say they'll spend their usual amount of money, a third plan on spending more, compared with 16 percent who'll cut back.

That's a pretty positive travel outlook, indicating a reasonably robust economy despite high gasoline prices. Indeed, consumer confidence as measured weekly by ABC News and The Washington Post has advanced lately to match its nearly 20-year average.

What about the millions of Americans staying put this summer? Perhaps surprisingly, cost is not the issue keeping most of them home. Nearly six in 10 cite some reason other than cost for opting out of a vacation.

Plan to take a summer vacation?
Yes   53%
No   46

If yes, plan to ...
Spend more   33%
Spend less   16
Spend same amount   51

Overall, about six in 10 say they normally take a summer vacation. Of those usual travelers, the broad majority -- 76 percent -- are planning to get away again this summer, while two in 10 are sitting the season out. Balancing that out however, are another two in 10 who don't normally vacation in the summer, but plan to do so this year.

Not all vacationers are created equal. Those planning a getaway this summer are more likely to be men, younger and wealthier. Fifty-eight percent of men say they'll go away, compared with 48 percent of women. Two-thirds of people under 30 are going on vacation, compared with fewer than half of seniors. And nearly seven in 10 people in households earning six figures are planning a trip, compared with just four in 10 people with incomes less than $35,000.

Regionally, Midwesterners are the least likely to say they'll take a trip this summer -- just four in 10 say so, compared with a majority elsewhere.

Planning a vacation
All   53%
Men   58
Women   48
Age less than 30   66
Age more than 65   46
Income less than $35k   40
Income more than $100k   68

Among those staying home this summer, women are 11 points more likely than men to say they're not vacationing for cost reasons, and, naturally, lower-income Americans are more apt to say so as well.


This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone June 2-5, 2005, among a random national sample of 1,002 adults. The results have a three-point error margin. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by TNS of Horsham, Pa.

Click here for PDF version with full questionnaire and results.

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