Economy has not crimped vacation planning
If Americans are worried about the economy, it isn’t showing in their decisions to spend money on vacations, at least not yet.
Despite sagging consumer confidence and a struggling stock market, a near-record 60.6 million Americans are planning a getaway at least 100 miles from home over the upcoming holidays, according to a survey by AAA. That’s up 4% from last year and nearly 20% ahead of a decade ago, and it means that travelers should gird themselves for holiday gridlock at airports and on highways. While consumer confidence hit its lowest level in more than a year last month, AAA spokeswoman Janie Graziani notes that people probably planned and paid for their trips long before the economy began to show signs of softening. ‘Travel does tend to follow the economy, but it makes sense that there would be a lag, between a slowdown in the economy and a slowdown in travel’, she says. Once people book trips, ‘they’re reluctant to make a change. They’re going to go ahead and take it.’As in the past, AAA says most holiday travelers will drive (74%). More than half of all travelers (58%) plan to stay with friends and relatives.