Travelers are spending billions on trips they may not even want to take.
Weddings, family reunions and holidays that require travel have to be factored into the budgets of nearly half of Americans, according to a new survey from travel booking web site Hotwire and Harris Interactive. Over a one-year period, as much as $197 billion was spent on trips people felt obliged to take
"I'm not surprised by how much obligation travel we take as Americans. I do it myself. What surprises me is the tradeoffs that folks are making at the expense of their personal trips," said Clem Bason, president of the Hotwire Group.
A 2010 Travelocity poll in the same vein found even more people were traveling for obligation vacations -- or 'oblications.' 93 percent of respondents said they used at least some of their vacation time to travel for obligations.
Even more dreaded than the out-of-town wedding? Visiting the in-laws. Seeing your spouse's family topped the list of unpopular oblications, with weddings. graduations, reunions, anniversaries and the like coming in close behind.
All those oblications are likely taking away from trips people might actually enjoy. Bason said the Hotwire survey "suggests that obligation travel gets in the way of the personal vacations they deserve. I just wish more people knew that they don't have to accept that as a truism. With a little extra research and flexibility it's possible for folks to travel for both others and themselves without breaking the bank."
Hotwire suggests a few bargain destinations for travelers who've spent most of their money on obligation vacations. Washington, D.C., Chicago, Vancouver, B.C., the Dominican Republic and Turkey all top Hotwire's list of "Where to Go Now and How" value hotspots.